Can Constitutions Insure Prosperity?

Manila Bulletin, January 20, 2003 | Go to article overview

Can Constitutions Insure Prosperity?


(Editors note: Theres no perfect constitution that can give us the prosperity we badly need. Our immediate need is to identify the politicians who protect the peoples welfare all the time.)

IT can be assumed that citizens of the more affluent countries like the US, Japan, Germany and France have all the advantages and benefits of good education and exposure to modern technology and information about their government.

Politically, they know their governments responsibilities, laws, rules and their elective officials own obligation to their constituencies and districts.

In RP, theres no statistics about the peoples awareness of what their Constitution can do for them. Of the 82 million Filipinos, what percentage of this figure can tell if the nations constitution is presidential or parliamentary? Can federalism save them from poverty?

How great constitutions started

Its different in UK. The ordinary citizens, employes and dock workers can tell by looking at the House of Commons and House of Lords building that their government and legislative bodies can trace their origin to King John (younger brother of Richard the LionHearted) who was forced by the barons to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215 and that this document is one of the thousands of acts, precedents and decisions embodied in the unwritten British Constitution.

Most of them are aware that the English Common Law is about 1,500 years old.

The Americans know the origin of their Constitution. The thirteen independent colonies fought a revolution for six years (1775-81) and from their experience they observed that a stronger union was better than 13 scattered states. The constitution they crafted in 1787 has been commended by world statesmen as one of the greatest charters ever devised by human intelligence.

Since its effectivity in April 1789 (inauguration of Washington in New York) only 27 amendments have been added to the US Constitution without overhauling the original document signed by 39 delegates headed by Washington on Sept. 17, 1787.

Lord Bryce, British statesman, views the US Constitution: Yet, after all deductions it ranks above other written constitutions for the intrinsic excellence of its scheme, its adaption to the circumstances of the people, its simplicity, brevity, and precision of language, its judicious mixture of definiteness in principle with elasticity in details. …

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