Republican Democracy - Recit Questions

ARTICLE II, SECTION 1: The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them. (1987 Constitution)

[1] What is democracy?
[2] What is republicanism?
[3] Are we a pure democracy?
[4] What is sovereignty?
[5] What does it mean that sovereignty resides in the people?
[6] What does it mean that all government authority emanates from the people?
[7] What are the manifestations that we are a republican democracy?
[8] Why do we elect representatives?
[9] Are we a society of laws and not of men?
[10] What is separation of powers?

[1] What is democracy?

Democracy means that the people govern. "Demo" means people; "kratia" means "govern." In short, it is the people who govern themselves. It is a system of self-government where the people themselves write and implement the law. That is democracy in its broadest sense.

In narrower sense, democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. However, this definition already touches on republicanism.

The Philippines is a democratic state. It is not a monarchy where it is the King or Queen who governs. It is not an aristocracy where only the elite who govern. We are a democracy; we govern ourselves.

In everyday conversations, democracy is sometimes used to mean "freedom." This is not exactly true. Democracy does not mean freedom but freedom is the result of democracy. As already mentioned, the people govern themselves. They are the ones who formulate and write policies and rules that regulate the conduct of the Government and the people. As a result of this democracy, the Filipino people have chosen to be free. This is why liberty is one of the rights protected by the due process clause and the equal protection clause.

[2] What is republicanism?

Related to the principle of democracy is the concept of republicanism. The Philippines is a republican state. The people govern themselves through representatives. They vote for people who share manage the machinery of Government according to their will.

A representative of the people is not a lord or a prince. He does not hold his office by virtue of blood but by virtue of electoral mandate. The people have chosen him to be in that office; public office is public trust.

The Philippines adheres to the principles of a republican democracy. It is the people who government themselves but this is not done directly.

We elect the President to implement the laws. We elect senators and congressmen to write laws. We choose our judges and justices via the President who is voted upon by the people at large.

[3] Are we a pure democracy?

No, we are not a pure democracy. We are a republican democracy.

A pure democracy is impractical. We cannot all govern ourselves at the same time. There must be a temporary representative who speaks and acts on behalf of the people.

Although it is impossible to have all people agree on a representative, it is reasonable to allow the will of the majority to prevail. The representative must enjoy the trust and confidence of the majority to ensure stability in society. It is not beneficial to society that there is always a leadership struggle.

The only problem about a representative democracy mobocracy. Majoritarianism is good until the majority decides the rights of the minority and the sanctity of the Constitution.

[4] What is sovereignty?

Sovereignty is the power to govern. It is the full right and authority to determine the rule and punish those who violate it. It is the supreme, unlimited and imprescriptible authority wielded by him or them who are perceived as powerful.

Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.

In other textbooks, sovereignty is divided into external and internal sovereignty. There are also textbooks that define sovereignty as the power to enter into foreign relations or the power to wage war and make peace. Whatever the definition is, it is clear that, in the Philippines, the sovereign is the Filipino people. There is no single person or family that is considered as the ruling person or class. The people themselves are supreme. The voice of the people is the supreme law as expressed in the Constitution.[5] What does it mean that sovereignty resides in the people?

That sovereignty resides in the people means that, despite delegation by them of their powers to the Government, they keep the power. The power taken form the people always goes back to the people because it never leaves them in the first place.

Anytime, the people have the right and the power to abolish the Government if, for example, they are no longer satisfied with it. They have the inherent prerogative to change the Constitution, as illustrated by what happened in 1986 which led to the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.

[6] What does it mean that all government authority emanates from the people?

Although Government officials and officers, from the President to the Punong Barangay (village chief), from the Senate President to the Sanggunian (local council) members, wield the power to govern, such power is merely a delegation made by the people who are the sovereign.

Public office is public trust. The people elect their representatives with the expectation that their ideals and aspirations will be written down as policies and implemented.

[7] What are the manifestations that we are a republican democracy?

There are manifestations in our system of government that we a republican democracy. Examples of them are regular elections, the rule of law and separation of powers.

[8] Why do we elect representatives?

We regularly elect representatives because the will of the people, their ideals and aspirations must be reflected in government policies and directions. This is done by the people by casting their votes.

Regular election is necessary in order to avoid those in power to abuse their delegated authority and in order to express the latest will of the people.

Therefore, a law that makes a person an elective government official stay in office until his death has doubtful validity.

[9] Are we a society of laws and not of men?

Yes, we are a society of laws and not of men. Although we elect people in Government, they are not the law. They are not above the law. In fact, they are expected to act within the bounds of the law.

Even if the ideals and aspirations of the majority are written into a law, if such law violates the rights and rules enshrined in the Constitution, such can be stricken down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

[10] What is separation of powers?

Separation of powers is the principle in our system of Government which prohibits the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary from interfering with the powers and prerogatives of the others.

The Legislative creates the law. The Executive implements the law. The Judiciary applies and interprets the law. Congress cannot engage in the execution of laws. The President cannot make the law. The courts cannot legislate.

A violation of the principle of separation of powers is a violation of republicanism.

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