Discussion on the Declaration of Principles and State Policy of the 1987 Constitution

The following are the Principles and Policies of the Philippines:

The Philippines is a democratic and Republican State (Art. II, Sec. 1).

Manifestation of a Democratic and Republican State:

  • The existence of a bill of rights. (See discussion on Article III)
  • The observance of the rule of the majority.
  • The observance of the principle that ours is a government of laws, and not of man.
  • Suffrage as expression of the popular will.
  • The observance of the principle of separation of powers and the system of checks and balances.
  • The observance of the principle that legislature cannot pass irrepealable laws.

Sovereignty of the people (Art. II, Sec. 1).

Sovereignty implies the supreme authority to govern. The government governs through the sovereignty of the Filipino people, As such, they have the right to constitute their own government, to change it, and to define its jurisdiction and powers.

“The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”

Maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare as the raison d’ etre of the Philippine State (Art. II, Sec. 5)

“The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and the promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.”

And thus:

Goal to promote a Just and dynamic social order (Art. II, Sec.9); Promotion of Social justice (Art. II, Sec 10); respect for human rights (Art. II, Sec.11); the right of the people to health (Art. II, Sec. 15); recognition of the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology (Art. II, Sec. 16); priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture and sports (Art. II, Sec.17); promotion of a comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform (Art II, Sec. 21); etc.

Art. II, Sec. 9; “The state shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living and an improved quality of life for all”

Art. II, Sec.11: “The state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.”

Adherence to the Policy of peace with all nations. (Art. II, Sec. 2)

“The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation and amity with all nations”.

Supremacy of civilian authority over the military. (Art. II, Sec. 3)

“Civilian authorities are, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the state. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the state and the Integrity of the national territory.”


  • A civilian president is the commander in chief of all armed forces of the Philippines. This arrangement is considered an important safeguard against the rise of military dictatorship.
  • The subordination of the military to the civilian even in times of war.

Principle of separation of the Church and state. (Art. II, Sec. 6)

“The separation of church and State shall be inviolable.”


  • The state has no official religion.
  • The state cannot set up its own religion nor aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another.
  • Every person is free to profess belief or disbelief in any religion.
  • Every religion or religious ministry is free to practice his/her calling.
  • The state cannot punish a person for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs.

Independent Foreign policy (Art. II, Sec. 7) requires fulfillment of a self-reliant and independent national economy. (Art. II, Sec. 19)

The power to craft independent foreign policy is vested to the President. His duty includes pursuing foreign policies that will redound to the benefit of his/her home state and its people.

Recognition of labor as a primary social economic force (Art. II, Sec. 18) difficult to reconcile with Recognition of the role of the private sector in the economy. (Art. II, Sec. 20)

Art. II, Sec 18: “The state affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.”

Art. II, Sec 20; “The state recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investments.”

Guarantee of an equal access to the opportunities for public service (Art. II, Sec. 26)

“Sec. 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

This provision of the Constitution is not self-executory; it requires an enabling legislation. Almost four decades since the Constitution took effect, the Philippine Congress has yet to define what political dynasty is and enact a law that prohibits the same.