Philippine constitution and the Bangsamoro autonomy

Constitution is a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state is acknowledged to be governed. It protects individual freedom and its fundamental principle govern the nation. It is a gateway between the powers of government and public rights and limits the power of government and establishes a system of checks and balances.

A Constitution can be safely said to be social contract between government and the people it governs. It can also be deemed as the fundamental underlying framework of government for a nation.      

The only problem with constitutions is that sometimes they can become a burden over time. Nations evolve and constitutions can inhibit beneficial change. They should work for the people, not the other way around.     

 In the case of Philippine constitution , it started with Malolos Constitution known as basic law of the First Philippine Republic which was promulgated on 21 January 1899 and followed by 1935 Constitution and served as the fundamental law of the land and herein known as the Commonwealth of the Philippines. It provides that upon withdrawal of American sovereignty in the country and the declaration of Philippine independence, said commonwealth shall be known as the Republic of the Philippines.

During the Japanese occupation , the Second Republic was established and promulgated 1943 Philippine constitution , a Japanese sponsored constitution and ratified in a general assembly on September 4 , 1943 with Jose P. Laurel Sr. as appointed President and inaugurated into office in October 14 , 1943. 

Accordingly, the 1943 constitution was recognized as legitimate and binding only in Japanese - controlled areas of the Philippines but was ignored by the United States government and Philippine commonwealth government in - exile.      

Then after liberation in 1945, the Philippine Republic took again the 1935 Constitution as the supreme law of the land till 1973.      

The 1973 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines ratified by the Citizen Assemblies on January 17, 1973, and provides for a shift from a presidential form of government to a parliamentary system. The President serves as symbolic head of state, executive power is exercised by the Prime Minister with the assistance of the cabinet and legislative power is vested in a unicameral National Assembly. In 1976, the National Assembly was replaced by the Batasang Pambansa by virtue of P.D. 1033 issued by President Ferdinand E. Marcos.     

Upon assumption of President Corazon C. Aquino in 1986, she created a Constitutional Commission through Proclamation no. 9, which was responsible for drafting a replacement for the 1973 constitution. 

She said that the new constitution should be, "truly reflective of the aspirations and ideals of the Filipino people. "

On Bangsamoro autonomy, the 1987 Constitution assures that a Bangsamoro Basic Law ( BBL ) conforms with the flexibility of Article X , Sec . 15 to 21. 

In R.A. 9054, the Organic Law of ARMM define Bangsamoro people as "citizens who are believers in Islam ( Muslim Mindanao ) and who have retained some or all of their own social , economic , cultural and political institutions. " (Article X, sec. 3 ( b ) )

In this context, Bangsamoro is about human development, their aspirations , needs , choices , empowerment , social justice , economics , cultural and political. Citing the excerpts from a paper sent to the ConCom in 1986 that, " Autonomy is a expression of the Bangsamoro's conviction of its being a viable alternative to separation...The Bangsamoro is historically and culturally a distinct and separate nation... and the political fusion with the Christian majority is workable only under a framework of political autonomy which shall allow the full flowering of the genius of Bangsa Moro in the context of his Islamic culture."

In a given premise, the Congress is mandated by the 1987 Constitution under Article XIII , sec. 1 ; " to give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity , reduce social , economic inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and power for the common good...X X X ."

With this argument, and in the name of humanity , fairness and correcting historical and current injustices suffered by the Bangsamoro people and by interpreting liberally the constitutionality of the law by applying the letter and spirit of the same shall be construed as sufficient and free from any legal infirmities.