ONE of the very first matters discussed by the 1986 Constitutional Commission was the form of government well-suited for Filipinos after two decades of authoritarian rule. A query by the sublime constitutionalist, Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, SJ, is particularly relevant to us now, to wit:
THE Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM has been described as a “radical transformation” from its predecessor, the ARMM. The former is a creation of Republic Act No. 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (hereafter referred to as BOL), while the latter came to be via the now superseded Republic Act No. 6734 as amended.
And yet another plausible, even fundamental, reason why the Philippine charter has remained unamended for 32 years lies in the nation’s tradition of judicial review, specifically the power of the judiciary, i.e. the Supreme Court, to interpret the Constitution.
INITIATIVES to change a constitution are part and parcel of being a constitutional democracy. Resisting such an initiative, provided it is supported by a rational public consensus-building process, is an integral component of constitutional democracy as well. As a constitutional democracy, the Philippines finds itself perfectly within this constitutional reform context.
THE 1987 CONSTITUTION is considered one of the most enduring constitutions in the world because it has stood for almost 32 years without any amendment. This is an odd quality considering that most constitutional scholars will agree that a constitution is never infallible or immortal even as they continue to debate among themselves the ideal lifespan of a nation-state’s charter.