[ VOL. I, June 02, 1986 ] R.C.C. NO. 1

[ VOL. I, June 02, 1986 ]

R.C.C. NO. 1

Monday, June 2, 1986
At 10:01 a. m., the processional began with the entry into the Session Hall of the Members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986.

Then, preceded by the Acting Sergeants-Arms bearing the Mace, the Vice-President of the Philippines entered the Session Hall followed by the Acting Secretary-General of the Commission.

The honor guards carrying the National and the Constitutional Commission colors entered the Session Hall.
OPENING OF SESSION

At 10:05 a.m., the Vice-President, the Honorable Salvador H. Laurel, opened the session.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: By virtue of the powers vested in me under Proclamation No. 9, I hereby declare open this Inaugural Session of the Constitutional Commission of 1986.

For the purpose of this Inaugural Session, I would like to announce that at a preliminary meeting of the Members of the Constitutional Commission a few days ago, the following were elected:

The Honorable Napoleon G. Rama as Acting Floor Leader. (Applause)

The Honorable Jose D. Calderon as Acting Assistant Floor Leader. (Applause)

The Honorable Ahmad Domocao Alonto as Acting Assistant Floor Leader. (Applause)

Professor Flerida Ruth Pineda Romero as Acting Secretary-General. (Applause)

Attorney Roberto M. San Andres as Acting Sergeant-at-Arms. (Applause)

As temporary Chairman of this Constitutional Commission, my duty is simple and brief. Borrowing the words of my late father, Dr. Jose P. Laurel, who, 51 years ago, also presided over the Constitutional Convention of 1935 as its temporary Chairman, I quote: "My duty today is simply to preside over this body to enable it to elect a permanent Presiding Officer or President of this body."

But before we proceed, I would like to state for the record that the Members of the Constitutional Commission now present here were all chosen by President Corazon C. Aquino for their "probity, independence of mind, nationalism and patriotism." While their probity, independence of mind and nationalism are yet to be re-affirmed, I believe that they have already demonstrated a glimpse of their patriotism by agreeing — I repeat, by agreeing — not to run for any elective office in the first local and national elections to be held under the Constitution and by agreeing not to accept any appointment to any government position while the Commission is in session and for at least one year after the completion of their work.

Such self-denial can only earn for them the necessary initial credibility that is so essential to the writing of a constitution. The writing of a constitution, truly reflective of the sentiments, ideals and aspirations of our people, is the most important task of this generation. It is a task that will place our nation, long derailed by 14 years of martial misrule, back on the tracks of constitutional democracy, which is the key to political stability and economic recovery. Everything that will take place in this Constitutional Commission will be important. Every word uttered during its deliberations may later be cited to bring out the true intention and spirit of a disputed word or phrase.

For this reason, the entire proceedings will not only be recorded, it will be broadcast live by radio and television. And so the entire nation, if not the entire world, will be watching, aware that the constitution being fashioned will be the constitution of the future, the constitution of our children and grandchildren. In the language of a great jurist, the constitution that you will fashion will be henceforth binding on both rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and it will cover with the shield of its protection all classes of men at all times and under all circumstances.

To the Members of the Constitutional Commission who are here now, and whom I would like to refer to as patriots — to the patriots now here assembled — let us now bow our heads in prayer as we ask the Good Lord to enlighten your minds so that you may pour out into the writing of our fundamental law the noblest thoughts of our valiant race.

NATIONAL ANTHEM

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Everybody will please remain standing to sing the Philippine National Anthem.

Everybody remained standing to sing the National Anthem.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Please remain standing for the invocation, which will be ecumenical, to be led by the Rev. Cirilo Rigos of the Protestant Church, His Eminence, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of the Roman Catholic Church, Dean Adriel O. Meimban of the Iglesia ni Cristo, Bishop Sotero Mitra and Dean Abdul Raffih Sayedy of the Islamic faith.

INVOCATION

CARDINAL VIDAL: The Lord be with you. Let us pray:
God, our Father
We, the sovereign Filipino people,
stand in Your presence to pray.

We pray especially and exclusively
for each and for all of the
fifty distinguished Members of the
Constitutional Commission of 1986.

These fifty Filipino men and women,
these fifty national, regional and sectoral representatives
of the more than fifty million Filipinos,
have solemnly sworn to faithfully and conscientiously
fulfill their duties,

and each one of them has prayed "So help me God."

As we watch them begin "to hasten the return of
normal constitutional government,"
we pray to You, O God, to help them.
We firmly believe that without Your help,
they shall find it extremely difficult
to draft a fundamental law that is
"truly reflective of the ideals and aspirations
of the Filipino people"
because we, the Filipino people, are Your people
whom You love and who love You.

As they go to work day after day,
as they endeavor to complete their work within the period
provided by law
help them, O God, to frame a constitution for our land,
a constitution that promotes the good of every Filipino
and of the whole nation of Filipino men and women,
a constitution that binds all Filipinos together as Your
sons and daughters,
a constitution that preserves and perfects the state of our
Filipino culture . . .
that recognizes and respects our sense of Filipino values . . .
that defines and directs our set of religious traditions,
a constitution that serves the common good and shares it
equitably with the common tao,
a constitution that builds bridges of love and justice and peace,
and breaks down walls of self-seeking and image-building,
a constitution that helps make the Philippines a more beautiful
place to live in
as it makes the Filipinos a better people to live in it,
a people with a better chance to survive
and a chance to survive better.

This, we know, is a tall order
that is why we call to You, O Cod,
and count on You.
We trust that You will not fail us now
as You have never failed us before.

And so,
we thank You in advance
for this one blessing we obviously need
even as we thank You
for the countless blessings
that we have received from Your bounty,
through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
ROLL CALL

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Please be seated.

The Acting Secretary-General will call the roll.

THE ACTING SECRETARY-GENERAL, reading:

Abubakar Present Monsod Present
Alonto Present Natividad Present
Aquino Present Nieva Present
Azcuna Present Nolledo Present
Bacani Present Ople Present
Bengzon Present Padilla Present
Bennagen Present Muñoz Palma Present
Bernas Present Quesada Present
Rosario Braid Present Rama Present
Brocka Present Regalado Present
Calderon Present Reyes de los Present
Castro de Present Rigos Present
Colayco Present Rodrigo Present
Concepcion Present Romulo Present
Davide Present Rosales Present
Foz Present Sarmiento Present
Garcia Present Suarez Present
Gascon Present Sumulong Present
Guingona Present Tadeo Present
Jamir Present Tan Present
Laurel Present Tingson Present
Lerum Present Treñas Present
Maambong Present Uka Present
Villacorta Present Villegas Present

Mr. Vice-President, the roll call shows 48 Members responded to the call. No one is absent.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The Chair declares the presence of a quorum.

OATH-TAKING OF CON-COM MEMBERS

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Will the Members now rise and take their oath of office. (All the Members rose.)

Please raise your right hand and repeat after me.

PANUNUMPA SA KATUNGKULAN

Ako, si ______________________ ng __________________ na hinirang sa katungkulan bilang ____________________ ay taimtim na nanunumpa na tutuparin ko nang buong husay at katapatan, sa abot ng aking kakayahan, ang mga tungkulin ng aking kasalukuyang katungkulan at ng mga iba pang pagkaraan nito'y gagampanan ko sa ilalim ng Republika ng Pilipinas; na aking itataguyod at ipagtatanggol ang umiiral na Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas; na tunay na mananalig at tatalima ako rito, na susundin ko ang mga batas, mga kautusang legal, at mga dekretong pinaiiral ng mga sadyang itinakdang maykapangyarihan ng Republika ng Pilipinas; at kusa kong babalikatin ang pananagutang ito, nang walang ano mang pasubali o hanguing umiwas.

Kasihan Nawa Ako ng Diyos.

Congratulations. (Applause)

The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: Mr. Vice-President, I move that a Committee of Five be appointed to notify Her Excellency, the President of the Philippines, that the Constitutional Commission has convened and that it is ready to receive her message.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Is there any objection? (Silence) The Chair hears none; the Chair, therefore, appoints the following to constitute the Committee of Five: The Honorable Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon, representing the youth; the Honorable Sister Christine A. Tan, representing Metro Manila; the Honorable Ahmad Domocao Alonto, representing Mindanao; and the Honorable Crispino M. de Castro, representing Luzon.

As members of the Committee, you will notify the President that the Constitutional Commission is now ready to receive Her Excellency's message.

SUSPENSION OF SESSION

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: In the meantime, the session is suspended.

It was 10:22 a.m.

RESUMPTION OF SESSION

At 10:25 a.m., the session was resumed.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The session is resumed.

THE ACTING SECRETARY-GENERAL: Ladies and Gentlemen, Her Excellency, the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Corazon C. Aquino. (Applause)

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: The Constitutional Commission is now ready to hear the message of Her Excellency, the President of the Philippines. (Applause)

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the Republic of the Philippines, Her Excellency, Corazon C. Aquino. (Applause)

ADDRESS OF THE PRESIDENT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

Vice-President Laurel, Chief Justice Teehankee, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Members of the Cabinet, Dean Adriel O. Meimban, Bishop Sotero Mitra, Rev. Cirilo Rigos, Dean Abdul Raffih Sayedy and His Eminence, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Commissioners of the Constitution, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

You are here today vested with the full authority and the complete independence to write our country's new constitution. Nobody, not even I, your President, can interfere with or overrule you in this great task. Our nation has placed its trust in you. Do not let it down.

I join you today only to honor your beginning. What happens from here on is a matter for you and you alone.

Today, apart from wishing you well and saying that the hopes and prayers of our nation are with you, I want to make only two points. The first is, please be quick. Nobody can impose a deadline on your deliberations but you know that our whole nation is eager for a new constitution and the subsequent elections as soon as possible. The people expect a constitutional draft within three months for their sovereign acceptance or rejection. So eager are they to have, in the shortest time possible, a full-blown democratic republic.

Second, please limit yourselves to your constitutional mission. Your task is to design a constitution that will provide for a new legislature, not to do that legislature's work for it. That is for the people's elected representatives to do.

You must define and protect our individual freedoms and rights; you must decide how our different institutions of state will relate to each other. Do not be distracted by political debates and matters of policy that do not belong within your constitution-making exercise. You are here, appointed by the people's wish, to write a constitution; you are here not as elected politicians.

Bear in mind that you shall be pondering, debating and writing a constitution not only for our contemporaries with their present concerns but also for succeeding generations of Filipinos whose first concerns we cannot presume to know beforehand. Future Filipinos must always be free to decide how to address these concerns as they arise. Even the wisest cures for present maladies should not be imposed on succeeding generations that will have their own unique problems and priorities.

True and long-lived constitutions, a wise justice has told me, should be broad enough to be able to meet every exigency we cannot foretell, and specific enough to stoutly protect the essentials of a true democracy; in short, open-ended documents that will always be relevant. Remember that constitutional changes are not safe or easy to come by. Our first attempt at constitutional revision was followed by a dictatorship. And this, our second endeavor, was preceded by a revolution.

Future Filipinos and their legislatures and supreme courts can best assess and address the challenges they will meet, if they enjoy the widest latitude of thought and action. In writing a constitution, have the fullest confidence that the wisdom of our race has not exhausted itself in us. Our race has grown in wisdom over time. I believe it will continue to do so.

Yours is indeed no easy task. On the other hand, depending on the result, yours will be no small glory. Our people have suffered much. I hope we shall always concern ourselves with the needs of our people.

Thank you and Godspeed. (Applause)

SUSPENSION OF SESSION

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: I move that the session be suspended.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The Chair declares a suspension of the session.

It was 10:33 am.

RESUMPTION OF SESSION

At 10:42 a.m., the session was resumed.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The session is resumed.

Will the Members of the Constitutional Commission please return to their respective seats because we will now go into the main purpose of this Inaugural Session, and that is, to comply with Section IX, Paragraph 3 of Proclamation No. 9 which requires the election of the President and Presiding Officer of the Constitutional Commission. It is mandated to be the first order of business.

Will the non-Members of the Constitutional Commission please clear the hall so that the Constitutional Commission can now proceed with its first order of business.

The table is now open for nomination for President who will also be the Presiding Officer of this Constitutional Commission.

The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: Mr. Vice-President, I move that we suspend the session for 30 minutes so that we can go into a caucus.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: May I know the purpose of the caucus?

MR. RAMA: The purpose of the caucus is to narrow down any issues or conflicts regarding the election of the President and expedite the election of the President of the Constitutional Commission.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Is there any objection?

The Gentleman from Mindanao is recognized.

MR. ABUBAKAR: I would like to inquire from the Acting Floor Leader if the caucus is for the whole membership or for a limited group. Who will attend the caucus?

MR. RAMA: The caucus will be composed of all the Members of the Constitutional Commission for purposes of defining certain rules and regulations.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Will the Acting Floor Leader indicate the room in which we will hold the caucus?

MR. RAMA: I think the Secretariat will indicate what room exactly.

THE ACTING SECRETARY-GENERAL: The lounge is ready to receive the Members. It is over there. Snacks will be served.

MR. ABUBAKAR: Where will the caucus be, in the same hall where we are now?

THE ACTING SECRETARY-GENERAL: No, in the lounge, please; it is over there. You will pass this way (pointing).

MR. ABUBAKAR: Mr. Vice-President, it is about a quarter to eleven now. Usually a caucus lasts about two, three, or four hours — I do not know how long. How would the Chair limit the caucus this afternoon?

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: May I know how many minutes' suspension the Acting Floor Leader is asking for?

MR. RAMA: It might be necessary to suspend the session for an hour.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Is there any objection for a one-hour suspension?

MR. ABUBAKAR: No objection, Mr. Vice-President.

SUSPENSION OF SESSION

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: There being no objection, the session is suspended.

It was 10:45 a.m.

RESUMPTION OF SESSION

At 12:10 p.m., the session was resumed.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The session is resumed.

ELECTION OF PRESIDENT

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Pursuant to Paragraph 3, Section 9 of Proclamation No. 9, the election of the President of the Constitutional Commission shall be the first order of business.

The table is now open for nominations for President who will be the Presiding Officer of this Constitutional Commission.

The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: Mr. .Vice-President, I move that Commissioner Guingona be recognized to make a nomination.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Commissioner Serafin V.C. Guingona is recognized.

NOMINATION SPEECH OF COMMISSIONER GUINGONA

MR. GUINGONA: Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.

I am aware that we are working under a time constraint. To us, time is of the essence. Because of this, and because the person whom I propose to nominate is one whose outstanding qualifications are already known to all of us, I shall, Mr. Vice-President, make my nomination brief by saying that it is my distinct honor and privilege to nominate the Honorable Cecilia Muñoz Palma, bar topnotcher. one who has ably occupied responsible positions in the three departments of our government - the executive, the legislative and the judicial — one who has had the distinction of having been appointed the first woman prosecutor, the first woman district judge, and the first woman Justice of the Supreme Court in this country, a respected parliamentarian and a dedicated civic leader, to the presidency of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. With the aid of the Divine Providence, under her able and inspiring leadership and through the efforts of the Members of this Commission, we could endeavor to write a constitution which would establish in this country a political community in which the members would enjoy, in the words of Dr. Jose P. Laurel, "bread and freedom, security and liberty for all."

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President. (Applause)

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: Mr. Vice-President, I move that Commissioner Alonto be recognized to second the nomination.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Commissioner Ahmad Domocao Alonto is recognized.

MR. ALONTO: Mr. Vice-President, this Representation and those of my time have the, honor and the pleasure to second the nomination of the distinguished lady parliamentarian, justice and executive, Commissioner Cecilia Muñoz Palma. (Applause)

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: Mr. Vice-President, it appears that there are no more nominations forthcoming from the floor. Therefore, I move that the nomination be closed.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to the motion to close the nomination? (Silence) The Chair hears none; the motion is approved. (Applause)

MR. RAMA: Mr. Vice-President.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: I move that Commissioner Davide be recognized.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Commissioner Hilario G. Davide, Jr. is recognized.

MR. DAVIDE: Mr. Vice-Presidents I move that the nomination of Commissioner Muñoz Palma be considered and declared unanimous.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to the motion? (Silence) The Chair hears none; the motion is approved. (Applause)

The Honorable Cecilia Muñoz Palma is hereby declared unanimously elected President of the Constitutional Commission of 1986. (Applause)

MR. RAMA: Mr. Vice-President.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: I move that a Committee of Three be appointed to escort the President of the Constitutional Commission to the rostrum.

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: The Chair appoints the Honorable Yusup R. Abubakar, Ma. Teresa F. Nieva, and Jose F.S. Bengzon, Jr. to constitute a Committee of Three to personally escort the new and unanimously elected President of the Philippine Constitutional Commission of 1986 to the rostrum so she may take her oath. (Applause)

The members of the family of the President of the Constitutional Commission are requested to kindly come forward and witness the oath-taking of the new President.

I repeat, will the members of the family of the Honorable President of the Constitutional Commission please come up to the rostrum to personally witness the oath-taking and the turnover.

OATH-TAKING OF THE PRESIDENT

At this juncture, Commissioner Cecilia Muñoz Palma, escorted by the Committee of Three and members of her family, ascended the rostrum and took her oath of office as President of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 before the Vice-President of the Philippines, the Honorable Salvador H. Laurel.

PANUNUMPA SA KATUNGKULAN
Ako, si Cecilia Muñoz Palma ng Bauan, Batangas, na hinirang sa katungkulan bilang Presidente, Constitutional Commission, ay taimtim na nanunumpa na tutuparin ko nang buong husay at katapatan, sa abot ng aking kakayahan, ang mga tungkulin ng aking kasalukuyang katungkulan at ng mga iba pang pagkaraan nito'y gagampanan ko sa ilalim ng Republika ng Pilipinas; na aking itataguyod at ipagtatanggol ang umiiral na Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas; na tunay na mananalig at tatalima ako rito; na susundin ko ang mga batas, mga kautusang legal, at mga dekretong pinaiiral ng mga sadyang itinakdang maykapangyarihan ng Republica ng Pilipinas; at kusa kong babalikatin ang pananagutang ito, nang walang ano mang pasubali o hangaring umiwas.

Kasihan Nawa Ako ng Diyos.
THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Congratulations and God bless you. (Applause)

Madam President of the Philippine Constitutional Commission of 1986, I now formally turn over this gavel to your safe and competent hands with the full confidence of the Filipino people.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you Mr. Vice-President. (Applause)

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: And may I also turn over to you these seven volumes. These are the seven volumes which my father personally collected when he was with the Constitutional Convention of 1935. These are originally in twenty-two volumes of manuscripts which, after six years, I was able to edit and make into a more compact set of seven volumes. I am also personally turning these seven volumes over to the President of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 so that they may be used as reference by the Constitutional Commission. With these, Madam President, I wish you Godspeed and God's light.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.

In behalf of the Constitutional Commission, I hereby accept these seven volumes presented to us by the honorable Vice-President Salvador H. Laurel with the confidence that we will make good use of these books, which will surely be very useful in our deliberations. (Applause)

THE VICE-PRESIDENT: Thank you.

ACCEPTANCE SPEECH OF THE PRESIDENT

MRS. MUÑOZ PALMA: Honorable Vice-President Salvador H. Laurel, distinguished Members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 of the Republic of the Philippines, honored guests, my countrymen:

From the Book of Psalms of the Old Testament, it is written that "every good gift comes from above" and "all that the Lord wills, He does in Heaven and on Earth. "

The honor and responsibility bestowed upon me so kindly by the distinguished Members of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 is a rare gift from the Almighty Who plans and rules the destinies of men and nations. In all humility, I accept with deep gratitude the Presidency of the Constitutional Commission created under Proclamation No. 9 of President Corazon C. Aquino, as a gift from the Filipino people who find themselves in the threshold of a new era of liberation after more than a decade of authoritarian rule and are now seeking to regain once more the purity of the ideals of the Filipino soul and of the Filipino nation.

I accept the presidency of this august body as a testimony to the cause of truth, justice and freedom which broke the shackles of bondage and brought us to this assembly, assigned with the task of picking up and sorting out the broken pieces of our shattered democracy and creating a structure of government under a basic fundamental law which will govern the life and destiny of the Filipino people not only for today and tomorrow but hopefully for all ages to come.

While conscious of my inadequacy and unworthiness as there are more able and worthy Members who can head this Commission, I nonetheless accept and receive the mantle of responsibility, emboldened by the thought that I have the inspiration and guidance of the men and women composing this Commission who, after all, will be the architects to build the new Philippine government for the new Philippine State.

True it is that the Members of the-Constitutional Commission come from different walks of life and ages and are of diverse creeds and social, economic and political persuasions, but it is this diversity that ensures the formulation of a document where traditional principles of democracy, handed down by the Malolos Constitution, the Philippine Constitution of 1935 and the Constitution of 1973, will be enriched by new concepts, born from the social complexities and changes of the times and strengthened by a recapture of our values for truth, justice and morality, and glorified by our love for country and faith in the Divine.

The Constitutional Commission assumes its tasks in the midst of clouds of doubt and mistrust generated principally from its appointive character and the alleged inadequacy of representation of all sectors of society in its composition. While we are aware of laws and imperfections, we the Members of the Commission nonetheless accepted the trust and mission given to us by our new President who holds in her hands the mandate of the people, because we see in the creation of this body a vital and crucial step in the attainment of a permanent social, economic and political stability and normalization for the nation. We are here to contribute our talents and expertise, and whatever we may lack in wisdom and experience, we compensate with our unquestioned love and loyalty to the Filipino people and the generations and generations of Filipinos to come.

We pledge that in our work we shall not be obsessed and controlled by our own personal ideas, biases and inclinations but that we shall labor together with open minds and hearts motivated by one consuming desire — to establish a just and humane society and create a free people in the international community of free nations.

I remember what our national hero, Jose Rizal, once wrote when his family and friends were urging him to escape from Dapitan and he refused, and I quote: "I have no reason to say that God has abandoned me. Let us ever do our duty. Let Him (God) do the rest."

Yes, my friends, let us do our duty with dedication, giving our utmost to attain the highest ideals for our people and let the Almighty do the rest.

Let me close with this revelation: that our people throughout 'the country in their respective churches and homes are storming the heavens with their prayers for the success of the Constitutional Commission, that it may draft a basic law that serves the good of all the Filipino people, preserves its territorial integrity, respects human dignity and protects basic human rights and freedoms, gives justice to all that no one may be exploited or trampled upon, and builds a nation founded on truth and love for the Creator of life and for one's fellowmen.

In the Holy Bible it is written, and I quote:

A house built on rock will remain firm and indestructible when the rains fall, the winds blow and the floods come; but when a house is built on sand and the rains fall, the winds blow, and the floods come that house will be swept away and be ruined.

On this day, when we have taken bur oath to serve in this Constitutional Commission, let us pledge to ourselves and to the Filipino people that in the spirit of unity, wisdom and self-sacrifice we shall create a Constitution founded on the solid rock of equality, justice, liberty and peace, reminding our people, however, that it is the people themselves who have the final responsibility to give life to the words written in their Constitution. The people have to live by the Constitution, defend it with their lives, if necessary, in order that their Constitution will be an impregnable bulwark of their liberties.

Again, my colleagues, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the mandate you have given this humble Member, coworker and friend. (Applause)

MR. RAMA: Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

SUSPENSION OF SESSION

MR. RAMA: I move that we suspend the session until two o'clock this afternoon after our lunch and caucus.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any objection? (Silence) The Chair hears none; the session is suspended.

It was 12:33 p.m.

RESUMPTION OF SESSION

At 4:48 p.m., the session was resumed with the President, Honorable Cecilia Muñoz Palma, presiding.

THE PRESIDENT: The session is resumed.

The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

ELECTION OF VICE-PRESIDENT

MR. RAMA: Madam President, may I call on Commissioner de los Reyes to make a nomination.

NOMINATION SPEECH OF COMMISSIONER DE LOS REYES

THE PRESIDENT: Commissioner Rustico de los Reyes is recognized.

MR. DE LOS REYES. Madam President, the man I am going to nominate is a bar topnotcher, super athlete, author of several law books, three-time Senator, seasoned parliamentarian and statesman. I think he is overqualified for the position of Vice-President.

It is a distinct honor and privilege to nominate my professor in criminal law and civil law, who gave me good grades incidentally, Commissioner Ambrosio Padilla.

THE PRESIDENT: Commissioner Ambrosio Padilla has been nominated.

MR. RAMA: Madam President, I move that Commissioner Alonto be recognized to second the nomination.

THE PRESIDENT: Commissioner Alonto is recognized.

MR. ALONTO: Madam President, for purposes of registering the unanimity of this Constitutional Commission, I move that the nomination be closed.

THE PRESIDENT: It has been moved that the nomination for the Office of Vice-President of the Constitutional Commission be closed.

Does the Chair hear any objection to the motion to close the nomination? (Silence)

MR. RAMA: The nomination is closed.

THE PRESIDENT: Excuse me, I do not get it. Is Commissioner Abubakar objecting to the motion because I asked, if there is any objection, and Commissioner Abubakar raised his hand?

So, there being no objection to the motion to close the nomination for Vice-President, the Chair declares Commissioner Ambrosio Padilla the duly elected Vice-President of the Constitutional Commission. (Applause)

MR. RAMA: Madam President, I move that the Vice-President be allowed to say a few words to the Constitutional Commission.

THE PRESIDENT: First, can we appoint a committee to escort Vice-President Ambrosio Padilla to the rostrum to take his oath as Vice-President?

The Honorable Teodoro Bacani, Jose Colayco and Ma. Teresa Nieva will please escort the Vice-President.

OATH-TAKING OF THE VICE-PRESIDENT

At this juncture, Commissioner Ambrosio B. Padilla, escorted by the Committee of Three, ascended the rostrum and took his oath of office as Vice-President of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 before the President, ,he Honorable Cecilia Muñoz Palma.

PANUNUMPA SA KATUNGKULAN

Ako, si Ambrosio Padilla ng Maynila at Pangasinan, na hinirang sa katungkulan bilang Bise-Presidente ng Constitutional Commission, ay taimtim na nanunumpa na tutuparin ko nang buong husay at katapatan, sa abot ng aking kakayahan, ang mga tungkulin ng aking kasalukuyang katungkulan at ng mga iba pang pagkaraan nito'y gagampanan ko sa ilalim ng Republika ng Pilipinas; na aking itataguyod at ipagtatanggol ang umiiral na Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas; na tunay na mananalig at tatalima ako rito; na susundin ko ang mga batas, mga kautusang legal, at mga dekretong pinaiiral ng mga sadyang itinakdang maykapangyarihan ng Republika ng Pilipinas; at kusa kong babalikatin ang pananagutang ito, nang walang ano mang pasubali o hangaring umiwas.

Kasihan Nawa Ako ng Diyos. (Applause)

MR. PADILLA: May I say a few words?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, of course. The Vice-President will address the body.

ACCEPTANCE SPEECH OF THE VICE-PRESIDENT

MR. PADILLA: My dear Members of this Constitutional Commission:

I am deeply grateful for this elevation to the high position of Vice-President of this Constitutional Commission. I am grateful to all those who have been responsible for this, for their generosity in awarding me this high position — not only to the Members who nominated me but to all, and particularly to Commissioner Francisco Rodrigo who generously yielded to me during the session. I am very grateful to all of you, my dear friends.

We are entrusted with this difficult, delicate and far-reaching task of formulating a new, permanent Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines that will embody the ideals, aspirations, dreams and traditions of our sovereign Filipino people. I am certain that with God's divine guidance and grace, with your full cooperation and the leadership of our President, we will not, as we cannot afford to, disappoint our sovereign people in this task of formulating our Constitution, not only for this generation but for many generations to come, that will ensure popular democracy with the blessings of truth, justice and freedom so that we, our country and our people, may enjoy lasting peace, political stability and economic prosperity.

Thank you very much. (Applause)

MR. RAMA: Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: I ask that Commissioner Davide be recognized regarding the next item.

THE PRESIDENT: Commissioner Davide is recognized.

MR. DAVIDE: I understand that the next item in the agenda is the election of the Floor Leader and the Assistant Floor Leader. I move for a deferment of the election of both the Floor Leader and the Assistant Floor Leader until such time as the Commission shall have decided on the issue of the Steering Committee. In the meantime, I move that the Acting Floor Leader and Acting Assistant Floor Leader be allowed to continue to serve as such until the election of the permanent Floor Leader and Assistant Floor Leader pursuant to any disposition on the issue of the Steering Committee.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any objection?

MR. BENGZON: I second the motion.

THE PRESIDENT: The motion is seconded.

Is there any objection to the motion as seconded? (Silence) The Chair hears none, the motion is approved.

MR. RAMA: Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: I move that the table be opened for nomination for the Secretary-General and the Sergeant-at-Arms.

THE PRESIDENT: The table is open for nomination for the Office of the Secretary-General.

MR. RAMA: I ask that Commissioner Quesada be recognized.

THE PRESIDENT: Commissioner Minda Luz Quesada is recognized.

MS. QUESADA: Madam President, I have the honor to nominate Madam Flerida Ruth Romero as Secretary-General of the 1986 Constitutional Commission.

MR. RAMA: Madam President, may I ask that Commissioner Romulo be recognized.

THE PRESIDENT: Commissioner Romulo is recognized.

MR. ROMULO: I move, Madam President, that the nomination be closed.

(Several Members seconded the motion.)

THE PRESIDENT: The motion is seconded.

Is there any objection to the motion to close the nomination for Secretary-General? (Silence) The Chair hears none; the motion is approved. (Applause)

Professor Flerida Ruth P. Romero is elected Secretary-General of this body.

MR. RAMA: Madam President.

THE PRESIDENT: The Acting Floor Leader is recognized.

MR. RAMA: I move that the election of the Sergeant-at-Arms be considered as by acclamation.

THE PRESIDENT: The table is open for nomination for Sergeant-at-Arms.

MR. RAMA: May I ask, Madam President, that Commissioner Bengzon be recognized.

THE PRESIDENT: Commissioner Bengzon is recognized.

MR. BENGZON: Madam President, I have the honor to nominate Atty. San Andres as Sergeant-at-Arms.

THE PRESIDENT: Mr. San Andres is nominated for Sergeant-at-Arms of the Constitutional Commission.

MR. RAMA: May I ask that Commissioner Rosales be recognized.

THE PRESIDENT: Commissioner Rosales is recognized.

MR. ROSALES: Madam President, I move that the nomination be closed.

THE PRESIDENT. Is there any objection to the motion to close the nomination for Sergeant-at-Arms? (Silence) The Chair hears none; the motion is approved. (Applause)

Mr. San Andres is elected Sergeant-at-Arms of this body.

MR. RAMA: As to the next item, Madam President, I ask that Commissioner Monsod be recognized.

THE PRESIDENT: Commissioner Monsod is recognized.

MR. MONSOD: Madam President, I would like to move that the formal organization of the committees be deferred until we shall have determined such committees, the scope of their- responsibilities and the number of the members that shall compose them.

THE PRESIDENT: Is there any objection to the motion that No. 3 in the agenda, Organization of the Committees, be deferred? (Silence) The Chair hears none; the motion is approved.

MR. RAMA: Madam President, there is a special item here which is not written in the agenda.

May I ask that Commissioner Jamir be recognized.

THE PRESIDENT: Commissioner Jamir is recognized.

MR. JAMIR: Madam President, I move that the Commission pass a resolution of thanks to the Honorable Salvador H. Laurel, Vice-President of the Philippines, for his services during the caucus and today's session of this Commission.

ALL MEMBERS: I second the motion.

THE PRESIDENT: The motion is seconded.

Is there any objection to the motion that a resolution of thanks be drafted, prepared and transmitted to Vice-President Salvador H. Laurel for his cooperation and services in this opening session of the Constitutional Commission? (Silence) The Chair hears none; the motion is approved.

ADJOURNMENT OF SESSION

MR. RAMA: Madam President. I move that the session be adjourned until tomorrow at three o'clock in the afternoon.

THE PRESIDENT. Is there any objection? (Silence) The Chair hears none; the session is adjourned until tomorrow at three o'clock in the afternoon. (Applause)

It was 5:07 p.m.

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