Charter framer Hilario Davide Jr warns vs changing economic provisions
MANILA, Philippines — Amending the “restrictive” economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution may cause further problems for Filipinos in the future, one of the Charter’s framers warned.
Retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. pointed out during Monday’s Senate subcommittee deliberation on Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 (RB6) that the country’s problems are not due to the 1987 Constitution, but rather it was implemented poorly.
“What our people need today are not amendments to or revision to the Constitution, but the full implementation of its principles and state policies,” he stressed.
RB6 seeks to amend economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, specifically on education, advertising, and public utilities, by inserting the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in the three stipulations – something that Davide opposed.
“Our problems are not due to the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution. They cannot be solved by removing these restrictive economic provisions and completely leaving Congress the future, under the clause ‘unless otherwise provided by law,’” the retired top magistrate said.
“On the contrary, they would create more disturbing and serious problems and consequences,” he cautioned.
According to Davide, opening the country’s education system to foreigners could make schools vulnerable to foreign control.
“The proposal [RB6] opens to foreign control and dominance, our basic education, which is the most crucial to the development of our young,” he said.
Citing the 1987 Constitution, Davide said that having foreign leaders in the Philippines’ basic education system would undermine the “noble patriotic and nationalistic virtues,” which are constitutionally mandated to be part of the curricula of all educational institutions.
He explained that Article 14, Section 3 of the Charter provides for schools to teach patriotism and nationalism, among others, to young Filipinos.
“Can we expect foreigners at the helm or control of the educational system to seriously and healthily obey this state policy on education?” asked Davide.
As for foreign ownership of public utilities and advertising, Davide warned that it would be “extremely dangerous” if the country were to leave Congress the extent of Filipino ownership requirement in businesses in the two sectors.
“The day will not be far when public utilities and advertising industries will be under control or even under the full ownership of aliens,” he said.
‘Cha-cha dance to hell’
Davide, a staunch defender of the 1987 Constitution, underscored his unchanging stance.
“I will not hesitate to say again that amendments or revisions to the Constitution, at this time, would be a lethal experiment,” he said.
The retired chief justice also said this to oppose the proposed shift to federalism during the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte.
Davide even likened the latest attempt to amend the 1987 Constitution to a “dance to grave or to hell.” He emphasized that changing the Charter would be a “cruel punishment for a God-loving, patriotic, and nationalistic people.”
“God forbid that we now amend our Constitution,” Davide said.