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It is argued that in law, the qualified or conditional ratification of a constitution is not contemplated.

I
disagree. It is inconsistent with the plenary power of the people to give or withhold their assent to a
proposed Constitution to maintain that they can do so only wholly. I cannot imagine any sound
principle that can be invoked to support the theory that the proposing authority can limit the power of
ratification of the people. As long as there are reliable means by which only partial approval can be
manifested, no cogent reason exists why the sovereign people may not do so. True it is that no
proposed Constitution can be perfect and it may therefore be taken with the good and the bad in it, but
when there are feasible ways by which it can be determined which portions of it, the people
disapprove, it would be stretching technicality beyond its purported office to render the final authority
the people impotent to act according to what they deem best suitable to their interests.
In any event, I feel it would be of no consequence to debate at length regarding the legal feasibility of
qualified ratification. Proclamation 1103 categorically declares that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"WHEREAS, fourteen million nine hundred seventy six thousand five hundred sixty-one (14,976.561)
members of all the Barangays voted for the adoption of the proposed Constitution, as against seven
hundred forty-three thousand eight hundred sixty-nine (743,869) who voted for its rejection; but a
majority of those who approved the new Constitution conditioned their votes on the demand that the
interim National Assembly provided in its Transitory Provisions should not be convened."cralaw
virtua1aw library
and in consequence, the President has acted accordingly by not convening the Assembly. The above
factual premises of Proclamation 1103 is not disputed by petitioners. Actually, it is binding on the
Court, the same being a political act of a coordinate department of the government not properly
assailed as arbitrary or whimsical. At this point, it must be emphasized in relation to the contention
that a referendum is only consultative, that Proclamation 1103, taken together with Proclamation 1102
which proclaimed the ratification of the Constitution, must be accorded the same legal significance as
the latter proclamation, as indeed it is part and parcel of the act of ratification of the Constitution,
hence not only persuasive but mandatory. In the face of the incontrovertible fact that the sovereign
people have voted against the convening of the interim National Assembly, and faced with the
problem of amending the Constitution in order precisely to implement the peoples rejection of that
Assembly, the problem of constitutional dimension that confronts Us, is how can any such amendment
be proposed for ratification by the people?
To start with, it may not be supposed that just because the office or body designed by the
constitutional convention to perform the constituent function of formulating proposed amendments
has been rendered inoperative by the people themselves, the people have thereby foreclosed the
possibility of amending the Constitution no matter how desirable or necessary this might be. In this
connection, I submit that by the very nature of the office of the Presidency in the prevailing scheme of
government we have it being the only political department of the government in existence it is
consistent with basic principles of constitutionalism to acknowledge the Presidents authority to
perform the constituent function, there being no other entity or body lodged with the prerogative to
exercise such function.
There is another consideration that leads to the same conclusion. It is conceded by petitioners that
with the non-convening of the interim Assembly, the legislative authority has perforce fallen into the
hands of the President, if only to avoid a complete paralysis of law-making and resulting anarchy and
chaos. It is likewise conceded that the provisions of Section 3 (2) of Article XVII invest the President
with legislative power for the duration of the transition period. From these premises, it is safe to
conclude that in effect the President has been substituted by the people themselves in place of the
interim Assembly. Such being the case, the President should be deemed as having been granted also
the cognate prerogative of proposing amendments to the Constitution. In other words, the force of
necessity and the cognate nature of the act justify that the department exercising the legislative
faculty be the one to likewise perform the constituent function that was attached to the body rendered
impotent by the peoples mandate. Incidentally, I reject most vehemently the proposition that the
President may propose amendments to the Constitution in the exercise of his martial law powers.
Under any standards, such a suggestion cannot be reconciled with the ideal that a Constitution is the

free act of the people.


It was suggested during the oral argument that instead of extending his legislative powers by
proposing the amendment to create a new legislative body, the President should issue a decree
providing for the necessary apportionment of the seats in the Regular National Assembly and call for
an election of the members thereof and thus effect the immediate normalization of the parliamentary
government envisaged in the Constitution. While indeed procedurally feasible, the suggestion
overlooks the imperative need recognized by the constitutional convention as may be inferred from the
obvious purpose of the transitory provisions, for a period of preparation and acquaintance by all
concerned with the unfamiliar distinctive features and practices of the parliamentary system.
Accustomed as we are to the presidential system, the Convention has seen to it that there should be
an interim parliament under the present leadership, which will take the corresponding measures to
effectuate the efficient and smooth transition from the present system to the new one. I do not believe
this pattern set by the convention should be abandoned.
The alternative of calling a constitutional convention has also been mentioned. But, in the first place,
when it is considered that whereas, under Section 1 (1) and (2) of Article XVI, the regular National
Assembly may call a Constitutional Convention or submit such a call for approval of the people, Section
15 of Article XVII, in reference to interim National Assembly, does not grant said body the prerogative
of calling a convention, one can readily appreciate that the spirit of the Constitution does not
countenance or favor the calling of a convention during the transition, if only because such a
procedure would be time consuming, cumbersome and expensive. And when it is further noted that
the requirement as to the number of votes needed for a proposal is only a majority, whereas it is threefourths in respect to regular Assembly, and, relating this point to the provision of Section 2 of Article
XVI to the effect that all ratification plebiscites must be held "not later than three months after the
approval" of the proposed amendment by the proposing authority, the adoption of the most simple
manner of amending the charter, as that provided for in the assailed Presidential Decree 1033
suggests itself as the one most in accord with the intent of the fundamental law.
There is nothing strange in adopting steps not directly based on the letter of the Constitution for the
purpose of amending or changing the same. To cite but one important precedent, as explained by Mr.
Justice Makasiar in his concurring opinion in Javellana 2 , the present Constitution of the United States
was neither proposed nor ratified in the manner ordained by the original charter of that country, the
Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union.
In brief, if the convening and operation of the interim National Assembly has been effectuated through
a referendum-plebiscite in January, 1973, and ratified expressly and impliedly in two