Robredo: No need to overhaul Constitution

Patty Pasion
Robredo: No need to overhaul Constitution
Vice President Leni Robredo says lawmakers should just introduce amendments to some provisions of the Constitution

MANILA, Philippines – A country’s constitution should be fluid with the times but it doesn’t mean it should be overhauled, said Vice President Leni Robredo.

Highlighting the essence of the 1987 Constitution, Robredo said in a forum at the Ateneo de Manila University on Tuesday, February 21: “The Constitution is supposed to be the basic framework containing the values and principles of one country.”

“It is not an instrument that should be or can be amended at the whim of a leader, at the whim of Congress or a group of people,” she added.

Robredo’s statement comes as the nation is set to celebrate the 31st anniversary of the People Power Revolution, which toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The current Philippine Constitution was crafted in response to the human rights violations during Martial Law under Marcos.

Instead of changing the Charter, Robredo said lawmakers should just introduce amendments to some provisions to keep up with the times.

One part that needs amendments, she said, is Article XIII, which ensures social justice and human rights for Filipinos.

The Vice President’s proposals include the following:

  • expanding the charter of the Commission on Human Rights, giving them prosecutorial powers other than only investigatory and recommendatory 
  • enact a law implementing the anti-dynasty provision 
  • enact a law that will allow for greater public participation in government

“There are so many things in the Constitution that are not being implemented,” said Robredo.

“We can look into introducing amendments but I think more attention should be given to making sure that all the provisions in the Constitution are being implemented already,” she added.

Changing the Constitution to pave the way for a shift to a federal system of government is among the campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte.

However, this plan seems to be far from realization in 2017. – 

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Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.