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measure derives all its vital force from the action of the people at the ballot box, and

there can never


be danger in submitting in an established form, to a free people, the proposition whether they will
change their fundamental law. The means provided for the exercise of their sovereign right of changing
their constitution should receive such a construction as not to trammel the exercise of the right.
Difficulties and embarrassments in its exercise are in derogation of the right of free government, which
is inherent in the people; and the best security against tumult and revolution is the free and
unobstructed privilege to the people of the State to change their constitution in the mode prescribed
by the instrument."cralaw virtua1aw library
III
The paramount consideration that impelled Us to arrive at the foregoing opinion is the necessity of
ensuring popular control over the constituent power. "If the people are to control the constituent power
the power to make and change the fundamental law of the State," observed Wheeler, 17 "the
process of Constitutional change must not be based too heavily upon existing agencies of
government." Indeed, the basic premise of republicanism is that the ordinary citizen, the common
man, can be trusted to determine his political destiny. Therefore, it is time that the people should be
accorded the fullest opportunity to decide the laws that shall provide for their governance. For in the
ultimate analysis, the success of the national endeavor shall depend on the vision, discipline and
firmness of the moral will of every Filipino.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, We vote to dismiss the petitions.
Aquino, J., concur.
MUOZ PALMA, J., dissenting:chanrob1es virtual 1aw library
I concur fully with the remarkably frank (so characteristic of him) dissenting opinion of my
distinguished colleague, Justice Claudio Teehankee. If I am writing this brief statement it is only to
unburden myself of some thoughts which trouble my mind and leave my conscience with no rest nor
peace.
Generally, one who dissents from a majority view of the Court takes a lonely and at times precarious
road, the burden being lightened only by the thought that in this grave task of administering justice,
when matters of conscience are at issue, one must be prepared to espouse and embrace a rightful
cause however unpopular it may be.
1. That sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them is a
fundamental, basic principle of government which cannot be disputed, but when the people have
opted to govern themselves under the mantle of a written constitution, each and every citizen, from
the highest to the lowliest has the sacred duty to respect and obey the Charter they have so ordained.
"By the Constitution which they establish, they not only tie up the hands of their official agencies, but
their own hands as well; and neither the officers of the state, nor the whole people as an aggregate
body, are at liberty to take action in opposition to this fundamental law." (Cooleys Constitutional
Limitations, 7th Ed. p. 56, Emphasis Supplied)
The afore-quoted passage from the eminent jurist and author Judge Cooley, although based on
declarations of law of more than a century ago, lays down a principle which to my mind is one of the
enduring cornerstones of the Rule of Law. It is a principle with which I have been familiar as a student
of law under the tutelage of revered Professors, Dr. Vicente G. Sinco and Justice Jose P. Laurel, and
which I pray will prevail at all times to ensure the existence of a free, stable, and civilized society.
The Filipino people, wanting to ensure to themselves a democratic republican form of government,
have promulgated a Constitution whereby the power to govern themselves has been entrusted to and
distributed among three branches of government; they have also mandated in clear and unmistakable
terms the method by which provisions in their fundamental Charter may be amended or revised.
Having done so, the people are bound by these constitutional limitations. For while there is no
surrender or abdication of the peoples ultimate authority to amend, revise, or adopt a new
Constitution, sound reason demands that they keep themselves within the procedural bounds of the
existing fundamental law. The right of the people to amend or change their Constitution if and when
the need arises is not to be denied, but we assert that absent a revolutionary state or condition in the
country, the change must be accomplished through the ordinary, regular and legitimate processes

provided for in the Constitution. 1


I cannot subscribe therefore to the view taken by the Solicitor General that the people, being
sovereign, have the authority to amend the Constitution even in a manner different from and contrary
to that expressly provided for in that instrument, and that the amendatory process is intended more as
a limitation of a power rather than a grant of power to a particular agency and it should not be
construed as limiting the ultimate sovereign will of the people to decide on amendments to the
Constitution. 2 Such a view will seriously undermine the very existence of a constitutional government
and will permit anarchy and/or mob rule to set afoot and prevail. Was it the Greek philosopher Plato
who warned that the rule of the mob is a prelude to the rule of the tyrant?
I would use the following excerpt from Bernas, S.J., "The 1973 Philippine Constitution, Notes and
Cases" as relevant to my point:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
". . . the amendatory provisions are called a constitution of sovereignty because they define the
constitutional meaning of sovereignty of the people. Popular sovereignty, as embodied in the
Philippine Constitution, is not extreme popular sovereignty. As one American writer put it:chanrob1es
virtual 1aw library
A constitution like the American one serves as a basic check upon the popular will at any given time. It
is the distinctive function of such written document to classify certain things as legal fundamentals;
these fundamentals may not be changed except by the slow and cumbersome process of amendment.
The people themselves have decided, in constitutional convention assembled, to limit themselves and
future generations in the exercise of the sovereign power which they would otherwise possess. And it
is precisely such limitation that enables those subject to governmental authority to appeal from the
people drunk to the people sober, in time of excitement and hysteria. The Constitution, in the neat
phrase of the Iowa court, is the protector of the people against injury by the people." *
Truly, what need is there for providing in the Constitution a process by which the fundamental law may
be amended if, after all, the people by themselves can set the same at naught even in times of