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Charter Change – How the Constitution can be Amended

Posted by lexforiphilippines on July 20, 2010

Under Article XVII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution

  • Any amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution may be proposed by:

1. Congress (acting as a constituent assembly), upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or

2. A constitutional convention.

A constitutional convention may be called by Congress by a vote of two-thirds of all its members.  Congress may, by a majority vote of all its members, opt to submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention.

Any amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution, as proposed by a constituent assembly or a constitutional convention, shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days after the approval of such amendment or revision.

  • Amendments to the Constitution may also be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least 12% of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least 3% of the registered voters in the district.

Any amendment as proposed through said initiative shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days after the certification by the Commission on Elections of the sufficiency of the petition.

The power of initiative may be exercised only after 5 years from the ratification of the 1987 Constitution and only once every 5 years thereafter.  There must be an enabling law providing for the implementation of the exercise of this power.

* Republic Act No. 6735, otherwise known as “The Initiative and Referendum Act” was enacted by Congress and signed into law on 4 August 1989.  However, the Supreme Court, in Santiago vs. Comelec (G.R. No. 127325; 19 March 1997) declared R.A. 6735 “incomplete, inadequate or wanting in essential terms and conditions” to cover the system of initiative on amendments to the Constitution.

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