Both recommendations were accepted by the Congress.
1973 constitutional authoritarianism From the pen of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruperto Martin flowed the term "constitutional authoritarianism". I was a student when he wrote it and in the inexperience of my youth, I had difficulty understanding the theory, let alone in accepting its legal consequence. Justice Martin, deciding a bunch of related cases in the Supreme Court about three decades ago, defined the theory as the authority of then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos "to propose amendments to the constitution or to assume the power of a constituent assembly". Justice Martin thus, effectively answered all those who sought to challenge, as without a foundation in the fundamental law, a bevy of constitutional amendments written by the Apo. The fact had to be considered though that when Marcos drafted the proposed charter changes, there was no functioning legislature. And, let me hasten to add, it happened during Martial Law when presidential decrees were deemed at par with legislative enactments. In addition to the fact that there was yet no national assembly convened at that time, one proposal was, from the viewpoint of people holding government positions, most difficult to refuse. It was well nigh impossible for them not to bite the bait. Generally speaking, no politician would turn down an offer to continue in power, more so, if that was achieved without going through the expensive
process called election. As Marcos wrote it, concerned elected officials "shall continue as presently constituted x x x". In other words, those holding elective offices, if the Marcos proposals got the peoples' nod in a referendum, would remain in power. As he cast the scenario, most, if not all, officials supported the amendments. I happen to recollect Justice Martin's phrase in the light of the current noise generated by the Consultative Commission of Her Excellency, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Presently, so much brouhaha is heaped upon the work of Pres. Arroyo's Con-com, the loudest din of which has seemingly nothing to do with substance. The uproar dwells on the suggestion that our officials take a base, so to speak. Save for a few rara avis who, either out of genuine confidence or for show, desire for a democratic mandate, our elected leaders throughout the land are agog on the no-el proposal, in much the same frenzied way their counterparts salivated when Marcos dangled before their lustful eyes the devious scheme to extend their hold of government seats. History is not quite repeated, though. When Marcos proposed some amendments to the constitution, our country was in a crisis. Only the presidency was dynamic. Naturally, the constitutional methods of proposing amendments could not be availed of. He took it upon himself to write the proposed changes and set the mechanism for their submission to the people.
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- Fall '15