Constitutional Performance Assessment of the 1987 Philippine Constitution
Since President Duterte was elected in 2016 on a promise of constitutional change for the Philippines, debates among politicians and citizens have centred on the question of whether the 1987 Constitution addressed the aspirations of the Philippine people and nation.
Despite the Constitution’s clear intent to institutionalize democracy, equality and grounds for decentralization and economic growth, the Philippines continues to suffer from unequal development, with most economic and political activity focused in Metro Manila. Service delivery is viewed as unresponsive and conflict, especially in Mindanao, has continued to present challenges for peace and prosperity. Does the persistence of these challenges suggest that the 1987 Constitution has failed to achieve its goals? If so, does that failure lie in the design of the Constitution and the institutions it establishes or in its implementation?
International IDEA and the University of the Philippines partnered to seek answers to these questions, adapting and applying International IDEA’s constitution performance assessment methodology to examine the performance of the Philippine Constitution over the last 32 years and study the Constitution’s internal requirements for technical implementation, as well as its aspirational purposes and success in achieving them. The assessment supports evidence-based constitution-building with a clear scope, in which different options for change can be considered on the basis of the measures of constitutional performance and research, indicating which aspects of the Constitution are working for the Philippines and which are not. The performance assessment’s findings promote a measured approach to consideration of the socio-economic and political challenges the Philippines is facing, and deeper consideration of solutions proposed.