It is no secret that there are these and those individuals – specially politicians, ideologues, experts included – who are voicing out and prompting the amendment of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. No. This is not a matter of simply saying “Yes!” or “No!” to their considered option and proposed move whereas needless to say, the said fundamental document and basic reference material in the governance of the Country is neither perfect in content nor infallible in intent. On proviso that the big majority of the Filipino Citizens are convinced that certain changes should be made therein, then let it be done for their societal good.
So it is that the CBCP itself issued a Pastoral Letter dated 30 January 2017 whose pivotal content is precisely on the possible forthcoming Amendment of the now still binding and defining Philippine Constitution. Being a Pastoral Letter, it is obvious that the fundamental intention thereof is basically one and the same, viz., it proffers teachings basically about God and man in accord with reason and ethics, in the sphere of truth and ideals, in the light of morals and pursuant human conduct. In more generic language, the Pastoral Letter is meant to enlighten, to guide and protect those concerned lest they be deceived, misled and even lost in their pursuit of truth, in their quest for justice and in their search for peace. So it is that some of the pastoral teachings forwarded by CBCP on the matter of amending the now existing and binding Philippine Constitution are the following:
The people should know, understand, and thus participate in the envisioned constitutional Amendments lest they become victims instead of beneficiaries.
The envisioned and thus proposed Amendments should clearly safeguard the rights, dutifully promote the ideals and clearly affirm the aspirations of the people.
The over-all special concern of the citizens should be to affirm and assert, promote and protect the blessed principle that sovereignty resides in the people.
The truth that the public office is a public trust for public service effective of public welfare should be considered non-negotiable in the realm of State governance.
The envisioned Amendments should preserve and promote the Bill of Rights specially the Right to Life – the unborn included – to Liberty and Property.
The Separation of Church and State should be better understood and re-affirmed, considering that such is a stipulation of nothing less than reason and faith itself.
The State shall continue to recognize the sanctity of family life, the rights even of the unborn and the optional religious education of children in public schools.
The matter of doing away with the Unitary System of government in favour of Federalism should be well-explained, studied and accordingly understood.
The said CBCP Pastoral Letter ends with the ardent exhortation “Let us not fail our Country.” And rightly so.