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CONCEPT OF CONSTITUTION

What is Constitution?

A body of rules and principles in accordance with which the powers of sovereignty are
regularly exercised.

Constitution of the Philippines

The written instrument by which the fundamental powers of the government are
established, limited, and defined and by which these powers are distributed among the
several departments or branches for their safe and useful exercise for the benefit of the
people.

Nature and Purpose/ Function of Constitution


1. Serves as the supreme or fundamental law. A constitution is the charter creating
the government. It has the status of a supreme or fundamental law as it speaks for the
entire people from whom it derives its claim to obedience.
The Constitution is binding on all individual citizens and all organs of the
government.

It occupies the highest level in the hierarchy of laws.

It is the law to which all other laws must conform and in accordance
with which all private rights must be determined and all public
authority administered.

It is the test of the legality of all governmental actions, whether


proceeding from the highest official or lowest functionary.
2. Establishes basic framework and underlying principles of government. The
constitution is also referred to as the organic or basic law being or relating to the law by
virtue of which the government exists as such.

Its purpose is to prescribe the permanent framework of the system of


government;

To assign to the different departments or branches their respective


powers and duties;

To establish certain basic principles on which the government is


founded.

It is primarily designed to preserve and protect the rights of


individuals against the arbitrary actions of those in authority.

Its function is not to legislate in detail but to set limits on the


otherwise unlimited power of the legislature.

What is Constitutional Law?

A branch of public law which treats of constitution, their nature, formation, amendment,
and interpretation.
It refers to the law embodied in the Constitution as well as the principles growing
out of the interpretation and application made by the courts (e.g. Supreme Court) of the
provisions of the Constitution in specific cases. Thus, the Philippine Constitution itself is
brief but the law of the Constitution lies scattered in thousands of Supreme Court
decisions.

What are the Kinds of Constitution?

Constitution may be classified as follows:


(1) As to their origin and history:
(a) Conventional or enacted. One which is enacted by a constituent assembly
or granted by a monarch to his subjects like the Constitution of Japan in 1889;
and
(b) Cumulative or evolved. Like the English Constitution, one which is a product
of growth or a long period of development originating in customs, traditions,
judicial decisions, etc., rather than from a deliberate and formal enactment.
The above classification substantially coincides with that of written and unwritten
constitutions.
(2) As to their form:
(a) Written. One which has been given definite written form at a particular time,
usually by a specially constituted authority called a constitutional
convention; and
(b) Unwritten. one which is entirely the product of political evolution, consisting
largely of a mass of customs, usages and judicial decisions together with a
smaller body of statutory enactments of a fundamental character, usually
bearing different dates.
(3) As to manner of amending them:
(a) Rigid or inelastic. One regarded as a document of special sanctity which
cannot be amended or altered except by some special machinery more
cumbrous than the ordinary legislative process, and
(b) Flexible or elastic. One which possesses higher legal authority than
ordinary laws and which may be altered in the same way as other laws.
The Philippine Constitution may be classified as conventional or enacted, written,
and rigid or inelastic. It was drafted by an appointive body called Constitutional
commission.
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Written Constitution
Advantages
(1) Clearness and definiteness over an unwritten one.
This is because it is prepared with great care and deliberation.
(2) Such a constitution cannot be easily bent or twisted by the legislature or by the
courts, to meet the temporary fancies of the moment.
(3) The protection it affords and the rights it guarantees are apt to be more secure.
Disadvantages
(1) Difficulty of amendment.
(2) This prevents the immediate introduction of needed changes and may thereby
retard the healthy growth and progress of the state.