Hypocrisies in the 1987 Constitution 1 PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 April 2016 13:58



LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…`In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness’…” (Matthew 23:28, the Holy Bible).

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HYPOCRISIES IN THE 1987 CONSTITUTION, PART 1: If we look at some of the more important provisions of the 1987 Constitution, we will find that what it intended to give as rights and benefits to the Filipino poor and the marginalized are nothing but empty slogans, designed to mislead many of our countrymen to shamelessly uphold the interest of the rich and the powerful.

Let me cite just one provision in this column today as an example, and, in the course of time by God’s permission, I will write more of these useless provisions—hypocrisies in the1987 Constitution, I would like to call them—in this space later. Let us first go to the provision on agrarian reform, or the centerpiece program of the then Cory Aquino government which was loudly trumpeted by her and her allies.

Here is the first sentence of that provision under Section 4, Art. XIII: “The State shall, by law, undertake an agrarian reform program founded on the right of farmers and regular farmworkers who are landless, to own directly or collectively the lands they till or, in the case of other farmworkers, to receive a just share of the fruits thereof…”

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MEANINGLESS AGRARIAN REFORM IN THE 1987 CHARTER: If we read just this sentence, the impression we will get is that the Cory Aquino government, in enacting the 1987 Constitution and overthrowing its forerunner, the 1973 Constitution of former President Marcos, truly released Filipino farmers from their longtime scourge of not owning the land which they till.

Yet, this is not all there is to the 1987 Constitution of Cory Aquino. The grant of land ownership to the farmers in that first sentence of Section 4, Art. XIII is immediately shackled and rendered meaningless by the phrase “by law” therein. This means that there was a need for a law to be passed first before an agrarian reform program allowing farmers to own their lands could be implemented.

We all know what this meant. It meant that, in reality, a land reform program where farmers could own the lands they are tilling is not going to happen, considering that the law that the 1987 Constitution requires to be passed beforehand will have to be drafted and passed by lawmakers who are basically big landowners! Surely, no lawmaker is going to pass a law that would deprive him of his wealth, right?

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AGRARIAN REFORM NOT A PRIORITY: But, more than that, there is more in the 1987 Constitution which made sure that genuine agrarian reform is not going to take place under the presidency of Cory Aquino or under any subsequent presidency for that matter which would be operating under the same Charter. If we continue to read Section 4, Art. XIII, we will also see that distribution of land to the farmers is not an absolute priority of the Cory Aquino government.

Why am I saying this? Well, the second sentence of Section 4, Art. XIII is saying that agrarian reform and the distribution of lands to the farmers would be “subject to such priorities and reasonable retention limits as the Congress may prescribe…” As history has proved, all the presidencies from Cory Aquino up to the presidency of her son, Noynoy, had other priorities on agrarian reform.

In the case of the Cojuangco-Aquino owned Hacienda Luisita, the priority was the retention of the entire Hacienda by the family of President Cory Aquino and President Noynoy Aquino, and, in attempt to assuage the farmers tilling the vast estate, to give those farmers mere stock certificates—mere pieces of papers, really—saying they are co-owners of the property with the Cojuangco-Aquino family.

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Last Updated on Monday, 11 April 2016 14:10