Institutionalized people power


QUESTION: The framers of the 1987 Constitution and the people who ratified it made sure that provisions institutionalizing people power were incorporated in the fundamental law. Briefly discuss at least two such provisions.

ANSWER: Section 1 of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, while vesting in Congress the legislative power, nonetheless states that such conferment of power shall be subject to the reservation made in favor of the people by provisions on initiatives and referendum. The specific provision provides: "The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum."

Section 32 of said Article also says, for this purpose, that: "The Congress shall, as early as possible, provide for a system of initiative and referendum, and the exceptions therefrom, whereby the people can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof passed by the Congress or local legislative body after the registration of a petition therefor signed by at least ten (10%) per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three (3%) per centum of the registered voters thereof."

[1] Notice that the 10% requirement is different from that under Article XVII where the requirement is 12% of the total number of registered voters (Section 2). This is via people's initiative.
[2] The 3% requirement is the same under Article XVII. It says: "Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years thereafter."
[3] Notice moreover under [2] that the Constitution provides that through initiative, upon a petition of at least 12% of the total numbers of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least 3% of the registered voters therein, amendments to the Constitution may be directly proposed by the people. This is another proof that people power has been institutionalized in the Great Charter.Art, XIII states that the state shall respect the role of independent people's organization to enable them to pursue and protect, within the democratic framework, their legitimate and collective interests and aspirations through peaceful lawful means. People's organizations are bona fide associations of citizens with demonstrated capacity to promote the public interest and with identifiable leadership, membership, and structure.

For the purpose above, the Constitution guarantees to such organizations the right to participate at all levels of social, political and economic decision-making and the state is required to validate the establishment of adequate mechanism for this purpose. (Sections 15 and 16)

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