Human Rights and the Duterte Federalism Constitution

By JoeAm

A couple of weeks ago, I retweeted a meme that compared the 1987 Constitution with the proposed Federalism Constitution. Here it is:

A reader argued that this was not accurate. He claimed the proposed new Constitution is even stronger on human rights. He said:

Radon86 @radongrafix Jul 22 #BeFullyInformed read the draft Human Rights is mention 16 times and its been expanded in a more clarity manner. Wag puro dakdak. 

Well, it seemed to me I should see if Radon86 had a point or not. I’ll relate my findings in this article, going through the two constitutions one section at a time. Material conclusions that I draw will be highlighted in color.

As far as statistics go, I had Adobe go through the PDF files on both constitutions. Human rights is mentioned 15 times in the 1987 Constitution and 17 times in the Federalism Constitution.


This is the section the meme is drawn from. In the 1987 Constitution, ARTICLE II, DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES, Section 11, says:

The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.

The Federalism Constitution removes ‘human rights’ from ARTICLE II and replaces it in Section 13 with “full respect for the person and the right of all citizens to participate in all government processes.” It is a strange change and reflects an intent on the part of those writing the Constitution to treat human rights differently than before.


Because the Federalism court system is multi-layered, the Federalism Constitution has to sort out which court is responsible for what, and makes clear that the Federal Administrative Court is responsible for the various constitutional commissions. The 1987 Constitution did not have to do this.

Article IX JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT Section 15 (a) The Federal Administrative Court shall exercise exclusive jurisdiction to review on appeal or certiorari, in accordance with its rules, the decisions, judgments, or final orders or resolutions of the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Federal Commission on Elections, the Federal Commission on Audit, the Federal Commission on Human Rights,the Federal Ombudsman Commission, and the Federal Competition Commission, and of all administrative and quasi-judicial bodies in the Federal Republic.


The Federalism Constitution has a separate article dealing with Constitutional Commissions . . . . the 1987 Constitution did not have this article. Human Rights is one of the designated Commissions.


SECTION 1. There shall be independent Constitutional Commissions in the FederalGovernment.

Section 2 The Constitutional Commissions are the Federal Civil Service Commission, the Federal Commission on Elections, the Federal Commission on Audit, the Federal Commission on Human Rights, the Federal Ombudsman Commission, and the Federal Competition Commission.

The 1987 Constitution defined the Constitutional Commissions within ARTICLE IX A. COMMON PROVISIONS and did not include human rights as one of the commissions:

Section 1. The Constitutional Commissions, which shall be independent, are the Civil Service Commission, the Commission on Elections, and the Commission on Audit.

The elevation of human rights to independent Constitutional Committee stature in the Federalism Constitution strengthens the nation’s commitment to human rights.

The Federalism Constitution provides the details on human rights within ARTICLE X, CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS:


SECTION 1. There shall be a Federal Commission on Human Rights composed of a Chairperson and four (4) Commissioners who must be natural-born citizens of the Philippines, at least thirty-five (35) years of age at the time of their appointment, holders of a college degree or its equivalent, and must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding election.

The Chairperson and the Commissioners shall be appointed by the President with the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments for a term of seven (7) years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, the Chairperson and two (2) Commissioners shall hold office for seven (7) years and two (2) Commissioners shall hold office for five (5) years.

SECTION 2. The Federal Commission on Human Rights shall have the following powers and duties:

(a) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving, but not limited to, civil, political, socio-economic, cultural, and environmental rights, committed by state and non-state actors;

(b) Recommend the prosecution of state and non-state actors to the proper authority for violation of human rights;

(c) Exercise the power to cite in contempt in accordance with the Rules of Court;

(d) Provide preventive measures and legal assistance to all victims whose human rights have been violated or who may need protection and, in appropriate cases, conduct case build-up for prosecution of criminal offenses;

(e) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or analogous detention facilities: Provided, that in case of detention facilities inside military camps, the visitorial power can be exercised only upon the issuance of a court order allowing such;

(f) Establish a continuing program on research, education, and information to enhance respect for the primacy of human rights in government and society;

(g) Recommend to Congress legal and effective measures for the protection and promotion of human rights of all persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and to provide for remedies to victims of violations of human rights and their families;

(h) Monitor the compliance by the Federal and Regional Governments with treaty obligations on human rights;

(i) Grant immunity and establish a witness protection program for persons whose testimony or whose possession of documents or other evidence is necessary to determine the truth in any investigation conducted by it or under its authority;

(j) Coordinate with the Federal and Regional Governments or any of their subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, in the performance of its functions; and

(k) Coordinate with, and render capacity-building assistance to, all human rights agencies.

SECTION 3. A human rights violation is any violation of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and by international human rights covenants and treaties to which the Philippines is a party, perpetrated by the State or non-state actors.

The Consultative Committee drafting the new Constitution removed human rights from the 1987 Constitution’s ARTICLE XIII, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS, and placed in ARTICLE X, CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS. I’ll put the language from 1987 Constitution here so we can compare the details of the two documents.


Section 17. (1) There is hereby created an independent office called the Commission on Human Rights.

(2) The Commission shall be composed of a Chairman and four Members who must be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and a majority of whom shall be members of the Bar. The term of office and other qualifications and disabilities of the Members of the Commission shall be provided by law.

(3) Until this Commission is constituted, the existing Presidential Committee on Human Rights shall continue to exercise its present functions and powers.

(4) The approved annual appropriations of the Commission shall be automatically and regularly released.

Section 18. The Commission on Human Rights shall have the following powers and functions:

(1) Investigate, on its own or on complaint by any party, all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights;

(2) Adopt its operational guidelines and rules of procedure, and cite for contempt for violations thereof in accordance with the Rules of Court;

(3) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of human rights of all persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for preventive measures and legal aid services to the under-privileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection;

(4) Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons, or detention facilities;

(5) Establish a continuing program of research, education, and information to enhance respect for the primacy of human rights;

(6) Recommend to Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to provide for compensation to victims of violations of human rights, or their families;

(7) Monitor the Philippine Government’s compliance with international treaty obligations on human rights;

(8) Grant immunity from prosecution to any person whose testimony or whose possession of documents or other evidence is necessary or convenient to determine the truth in any investigation conducted by it or under its authority;

(9) Request the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its functions;

(10) Appoint its officers and employees in accordance with law; and

(11) Perform such other duties and functions as may be provided by law.

Section 19. The Congress may provide for other cases of violations of human rights that should fall within the authority of the Commission, taking into account its recommendations.

The functional details are similar and I could not detect any material differences. The Federalism Constitution adds a paragraph on the terms of Commission members and puts in qualifications on jail visitations to military installations.

If readers note any material changes in powers or processes, please identify them in the discussion section of the blog that follows the article.


The Federalism Constitution requires a delineation of whether powers rest with the Federal Government or States. Human rights is one of the powers assigned to the Federal Government.

Article XII, DISTRIBUTION OF POWERS OF THE GOVERNMENT, Section 1. The Federal Government shall have exclusive power over: (l) Promotion and protection of human rights;

I was confused by the inclusion of human rights in the Federal Government’s list of powers because it is handled by an independent Constitutional Commission. What is the definition of “independence”? This seems sure to generate conflict, potentially limiting or eliminating the commitment of the State to human rights. Indeed, it is a “deal killer” to me because the human rights function is naturally adversarial to power.

I scanned the list of powers assigned to the Federal Government to see if any other Constitutional Commissions also had conflicting oversight. The Federal Government also has exclusive power over Competition and Elections. Civil Service, Ombudsman and Audit are not mentioned in the listing of Federal powers. It seems to me that, if commission functions are under the authority of the Federal Government, these are not independent commissions at all and the language in the document is somehow flawed.


The Federalism Constitution elevates human rights by including it in the mandate for educational institutions:

Article XVII EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, ARTS, CULTURE, AND SPORTS Section 3 (a) All educational institutions shall include the study of the Federal Constitution, and Philippine History and Culture as part of the curricula. (b) They shall inculcate patriotism and nationalism, foster love of humanity, respect for human rights, appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country, teach the rights and duties of citizenship, strengthen ethical and spiritual values, develop moral character and personal discipline, encourage critical and creative thinking, broaden scientific and technological knowledge, and promote vocational efficiency.


The two Constitutions are organized the same for social justice, but human rights has been extracted from the Federalism Constitution and moved to the article on Constitutional Commissions. This is not a material change, just a matter of where the content is placed.



Federalism Constitution, ARTICLE XVI, SOCIAL JUSTICE



Both the meme writer and Radon86 are right. Although the Federalism Constitution removes human rights as a commitment under State Policies, human rights are enhanced by raising them to oversight by an independent Constitutional Commission. Unfortunately, the dual assignment of human rights as a power of the Federal Government and also of the Constitutional Commission seriously undermines the nation’s human rights commitment. This is a deal killer given the abuses that have recently taken place in the Philippines under President Duterte, especially considering his hostility toward human rights advocates.

The solution is simple. Remove human rights from the list of Federal Government powers and let the Human Rights Commission operate independently, as do Civil Service, Audit, and Ombudsman. I would make the same argument for Competition and Elections. They cannot be independent and loyal to the Constitution, yet be under the authority of the Federal Government and loyal to the President. That politicizes these activities.



74 Responses to “Human Rights and the Duterte Federalism Constitution”
  1. arlene says:

    Thank you for summarizing the salient points of both Joem. Just wondering, is the Federal form of government just their way of staying in power?

    Good morning everyone!

    • Good morning, arlene.

      Many people think so. Me, too. There is no crying demand for federalism except from those in power now, who would lose it when their term ends.

    • madlanglupa says:

      > Federal form of government just their way of staying in power?

      The most vocal proponents of federalism are mostly Mindanao politicians, as if it’s a life-and-death issue, when Mindanao itself is plagued by mismanagement. Many point at ARMM as an example of what-if federalism is granted.

    • edgar lores says:

      G’day, Arlene. Another sunny winter’s day in these austral parts of the globe. The combination of cold air and hot sun is invigorating!

  2. karlgarcia says:

    It is good that we notice such nuances, we must continue until the final reading and the bicameral conference.
    if we will be vigilant all the way the more we will know what we are signing for.
    Jose Guevarra.s proposal of long term education to Federalism is fine if we do not have limited time for passing of the law and the plebiscite before that.

    All this argument of human rights in the federal constitution would be useless if the state still does, ejk,war crimes, crimes against humanity,makes people disappear,torture people and lock them up like sardines in a can.

    Lastly, I would want to insert that It is also nice that people are more leaning towards political correctness in the cruel social media world.

  3. edgar lores says:

    1. I do not agree that the proposed Federal Constitution is stronger on human rights than the 1987 Constitution.

    1.1. Article II of both constitutions is a statement of state principles and policies.

    1.2. By removing “human rights” from Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution, human rights is no longer acknowledged as a self-evident policy of the State.

    1.3. In the Federal Constitution, human rights have been relegated — not raised — to an independent Constitutional Commission. This means that human rights are no longer a central concern of government.

    2. This relegation is further seen by a comparison of Section 4.

    2.1. In the 1987 Constitution, it is stated that “the prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people.”

    2.2. In the Federal Constitution, it is stated that “the recognition of fundamental freedoms” and other items are viewed as “essential for the enjoyment of the people.”

    2.2. But it is no longer a prime duty of the Government to “protect the people” and, by implication, their “fundamental freedoms.”

    • If we approached this as if negotiating a contract, we would set aside our reservations about the motives of the President, and other concerns such as the transition powers, and see if we can get agreement on the language in the proposed Federalism Constitution as it pertains to human rights. As a negotiating partner of the People, I would propose, okay, we are not willing to lessen the nation’s commitment to human rights. Therefore, Article II, Section 13 must be returned to its original language “The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.” And Article VII, Section 1, must strike subsection “(l) Promotion and protection of human rights” so that the President is not empowered to cancel the Philippine commitment to human rights treaties or block the Human Rights Commission’s work to build respect for human rights in the Philippines and prosecute violations.

      Both of these are absolute requirements for the People. If changes are not made, we will urge voters to vote “no” in the plebiscite. If changes are made as proposed, we can move on in our negotiations to the next material issue.

      • edgar lores says:


        That’s section XII. The removal of “(l) Promotion and protection of human rights” is important. Human rights are above presidential control and management.

    • Da Edgar say:

      2. This relegation is further seen by a comparison of Section 4.

      2.1. In the 1987 Constitution, it is stated that “the prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people.”

      2.2. In the Federal Constitution, it is stated that “the recognition of fundamental freedoms” and other items are viewed as “essential for the enjoyment of the people.”

      2.2. But it is no longer a prime duty of the Government to “protect the people” and, by implication, their “fundamental freedoms.”

      Da Irineo answer:

      a) da pipol of the 1987 Constitution are yellow elitist. They want gaberment to serve and protect dem as ip it is their achay. Pack them.

      b) da pipol of the new Constitution are da real Pilipino pipol. They want to ENJOY first. Therefore the gaberment must do everything essential for the enjoyment of the people. Similar to da President who make jokes, kisses and sings for da barangay to enjoy.

      c) Western freedom is for da konyo. Like Paco Larrañaga who think he can do anything. Real Pilipino follows what da Mayor say. Not talk back like bad children talk back to parent. Bastos if sagot sagot all da time. Pilipino accept da judgement of da gaberment like parent.

    • I agree with your assessment. Like Joe, I see a problem with Article XII, Section 1. “The Federal Government shall have exclusive power over: (l) Promotion and protection of human rights” Human rights as an exclusive power of the Federal government? What do you read into that? My take is, if PRD stays in power and/or GMA becomes the PM, human rights as we know it will be history.

      Andrew Lim warned us about the MAD triumvirate and the havoc they will wreak before the 2016 election. I got a feeling that change has come and a deluge is in the offing. The Federalism drive is just the tip of the iceberg. I am afraid it going to get rougher and tougher for Filipinos before it gets better.

    • @Edgar, Federal Constitution: “the enjoyment of the people.”

      “we will empty their minds and fill their bellies” Mao Zedong

      (who also said that power comes from the barrel of a gun)

      • If one looks at the details of the human rights – and the state rights opposed to them, then a totally different concept of people and state becomes clear. A Chinese concept, could be.

        Look for the aspects that have to do with state surveillance vs. privacy rights, for example.

        • Yes, and lists and citizens simply pointing to other citizens as the basis of guilt. It is very Chinese, as if the Philippines were undergoing its own cabbage strategy, peeling away civility and institutions and rights because they are in the way.

        • edgar lores says:

          In the 1987 Constitution, the word “enjoyment” is also there in Section 5, Article II.

          The phrasing is “… enjoyment by all the people of the blessing of democracy.”

          In the Federal Constitution, the phrasing is “… the enjoyment by the people of the benefits of a democratic republican federal government.

          See the difference?

          The fundamental notion of “democracy” has been replaced by the notion of the “federal government.”

          The enumerated items are no longer the “blessing of democracy.” They are the “benefits” from the government.

          “Blessings” are “God’s favor and protection.” They are divine. And, therefore, divinely guaranteed.

          “Benefits” are “an advantage or profit gained from something.” They are not divine. Neither are they divinely guaranteed.

          These are minute and subtle changes. It would seem that the devil is really in the details.

    • madlanglupa says:

      Nothing else freezes the blood than a Charter that puts emphasis on these words: “Some are More Equal than Others.”

  4. karlgarcia says:

    I hope this is still on topic.
    Here are some excerpts from the May 2006 paper of Filipino analyst Noel Morada:
    R2P ROADMAP IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS.(R2P means responsibilty to protect)
    Here a Filipino Muslim cites the importance of protection of the people, while a Thai participant’s school of thought is for the protection of the nation.
    My opinion is without people there would not be a nation.
    I thought Thai rak Thai means Thai loves Thai, Color me confused.
    @Chemrock, our International expert on many things including culture please chime in.

    Sovereignty as Responsibility to Protect
    Seen in the context of the responsibility of the state to protect its people, a redefinition of the state sovereignty is properly appreciated by many key informants in the region. This is because Southeast Asia has had its share of humanitarian crisis situations in Cambodia in mid-1970s, East Timor in the late 1990s, as well as in the recent tsunami disaster in December 2004. These cases, along with similar situations in other parts of the globe, have become compelling issues that need to be confronted by national leaders and non-state actors in the region. For many workshop participants, there is no question that, in a more globalized world, states cannot anymore invoke absolute sovereignty even as security threats spillover beyond borders of countries. Globalization, notwithstanding its negative impacts, also means that states can no longer keep their people confined from the outside world. The international community has become an avenue or recourse for individuals if states fail to protect their own people. One Thai participant in the Bangkok workshop has put this more succinctly: there is a Thai proverb that goes, “there is a sky above the sky.”5
    It is interesting to note that while most secular states in Southeast Asia subscribe to the traditional Western conception of sovereignty, the moral or religious dimension of the concept should also be considered if one has to examine the prospects for acceptability of redefining it. As was pointed out by one Muslim woman participant in the Manila workshop, the Islamic view of sovereignty is not focused on states but on people.6 Redefining state sovereignty as responsibility to protect its people is consistent with Hence, from an Islamic perspective, sovereignty becomes problematic if leaders invoke it to abuse – instead of protect – their people.
    In Vietnam, scholars and think tank analysts still believe that national sovereignty is very important even in a globalized world, but they are open to examining the idea of responsibility to protect. They recognize that the tension between traditional conception of sovereignty and the need to protect people in humanitarian crisis situations is a relevant issue that should not be ignored. There is, therefore, a need to strike a balance between these two opposing interests or values. Some Cambodian participants in the Phnom Penh workshop expressed similar views.
    In Thailand, some workshop participants highlighted the moral and ethical values being promoted behind R2P principles. Accordingly, R2P puts protection of people above all things. However, in Thailand, protection of the nation is more important in some cases.7 Some Thai participants believe that promoting R2P in Thailand and in Southeast Asia may be premature at this point for two reasons: 1) non-intervention principles are still important for most countries in the region; and 2) the promotion of R2P concepts and principles need broader constituencies. More importantly, majority of Southeast Asian countries were colonized and they are still sensitive to the idea of intervention.

    • It is relevant for the following statement, reflecting Vietnam’s effort to reconcile the old definition of sovereignty and the global commitment to human rights, which some (like President Duterte) consider an infringement of other nations into Philippine sovereign space: “They recognize that the tension between traditional conception of sovereignty and the need to protect people in humanitarian crisis situations is a relevant issue that should not be ignored.”

      It underscores the mistake that would be made to have human rights within the sole authority of the President, and it emphasizes the role the Human Rights Commission can take to manage both human rights and national sovereignty.

      Very valuable points.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Thanks I am glad I was able to share.

        For those interested here is the paper.

        Click to access dr%20morada.pdf


          Balagtas wrote about “santong catouiran” being defeated, as people’s tears fall and kindness is seen as something shameful, when treachery and wickedness are allowed to reign. If one doesn’t see human “rights” here, definitely Balagtas is talking about the defeat of “santong catouiran” as the reign of human “wrongs.” These wrongs Andres Bonifacio clearly related in one of his poems, “The Filipinos are bound tightly, they but moan when kicked, boxed, and hit with the butt of the gun, they are tortured with electric wires, hung like animals, is this Mother, your love? You order them imprisoned and thrown into the sea, to be shot, poisoned to eradicate us, to us Filipinos is this the decision of a Mother affectionate to her vassals?” It can be concluded that we do have a concept of what should not be done to a “kapwa-tao.”

          There is another part where their is a classification of tao, hayop and aswang. I asked Xiao Chua on Twitter if adik is the present-day aswang, as in some villages people even college grads really have believed some neighbors are aswang or vampires. He said that Prof. Van Ybiernas (a DDS unlike Chua who is from Tarlac and dilawan) has postulated exactly that. What I wonder is how DDS see the human wrongs Balagtas and Bonifacio bemoaned coming from Spaniards – just OK if they come from “recognized authority”, i.e. Filipinos? Because indeed the drama if something comes from Kuwaitis is high, for example.. or if kids die and the cause might be Dengvaxia, coming from “yellow Abnoy aliens”, i.e. “outsiders”.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Thanks for your inputs.

          • edgar lores says:

            This is a conundrum. I’m still thinking about it.

            • It could be that the Filipino idea of “kami” and “kapwa” is more limited than some would want it to be. In Christian preachings, kapwa tao connotes fellow human being and those who idealize Philippine culture are prone to think of it as symbolizing Filipino goodness.

              The reality is that goodness is extended only within a small group = “kami” and that the “kapwa” are also a small group. A DDS “barangay” abroad like “barangay Hongkong” described in Rappler some time ago will see only their members as “kami” while “kapwa” could be all who are also OFWs, or lower middle class. The relatives of the SAF 44 saw themselves as “kami” and fellow police families as “kapwa” – but certainly not Muslims. DDS will not see “dilawan” or “adik” as “kapwa”, i.e. fellowmen, or “people like us”.. complicated.

              • Of course there is mostly a (tragic) limit to sense of kapwa or fellow men – worldwide.

                Many Trump followers probably don’t see Mexican or Latino immigrants as fellow humans.

                In the 1990s Balkan war, different sides called each other non-humans – literally.

                Many tribal societies name themselves after their word for “human”.

                But the others are/were fair game for headhunting and other stuff.

                Universal religion first made people aware of the humanity of others outside their “tribe”. The flaw being that in its more bigoted form, religion can also see the “infidels” as a new kind of non-human. Just like nationalism can unite inside and divide towards the outside.

              • edgar lores says:

                Irineo, you are right. But can you please wait for 13 hours. I have 2 partial answers.

          • karlgarcia says:

            Stigma causes people to shun his kapwa.
            Besides the adik, we know of another stigmatized people.


            • sonny says:

              Karl, I once came across the nuanced difference between the terms “kami” and “tayo”. I’m a Tagalog speaker from Manila, contrasted to the Tagalog of the Tagalog provinces. Maybe you can enlighten me of the difference between the two terms. Would love to hear your take. 🙂

              • karlgarcia says:

                Example in English: It is our fault.

                Translated to Tagalog.

                When you are talking to your peers, yoy say: Tayo ang may kasalanan.

                When you aretalking another group, you say:
                Kami may kasalanan.

              • edgar lores says:

                It’s a matter of the objective case, then, isn’t it?

                “Tayo” is “we” and “kami” is “us”. The latter is the objective case of the former.

                Using the example:

                1. We are at fault.
                2. The fault is us.

                But Sonny might be referring to something deeper.

              • sonny says:

                Thanks Karl & edgar.

                (I found Jose Panganiban’s dictionary after I brought this up, on “kami” and “tayo”). Our premier lexicographer says

                a) both terms are pronouns, “kami/tayo” = “we”

                b) “kami” includes all members of the group referred to, excludes the person addressed;
                “tayo” includes all members of the group referred to, includes the person addressed

                it seems the nuance points to mode of usage: read/write vs. conversation. (my opinion).

            • Juana Pilipinas says:

              Reminds me of Guliani discounting Stormy Daniels credibility because of her line of work. Yes. Some people look down at Stormy but she has the right to do what she pleases with her body and her life.

  5. karlgarcia says:

    For the past two years many felt that we are in an authoritarian state, that we must avoid because with an Authoritarian State:

    1. Human Security is threatened and State Security Unstable.
    2. Democratic Institutions are weakened.
    3. There is poor governance which leads to corruption.
    4. Security Forces are used to prop regime, and there is decline in professionalism
    5. Security institutions are weakened.

    The vicious cycle goes on and on.
    It is important for Security Sector Reforms for the State to respect Human rights and of course not to diminish human rights in any constitution.

    Click to access CRUZ_Security%20Sector%20Reform%20Way%20Forward%20for%20Democracy%20and%20Development.pdf

    • It is clear from the raft of killings both of and by police here that the security situation is one akin to the Wild West movies, or a good old FPJ shoot’em up. I tend to think it is getting worse, will get worse, because there appears to be no breaking point. Or braking point. Right now, the Philippines has abandoned human rights, completely, under President Duterte. Killings, lack of due process, restrained freedoms, threats and intimidations, lying by the State, lack of judicial fairness, institutions broken down through corruption, prosecution of innocents, crudity toward women (justifying rape). It is a horror show.

    • The reign of Duterte ushered a de jure democracy but a de facto authoritarian PH. It is annoying to read the famous DDS repartees of ” If PRD is authoritarian, Why is Trillanes still alive?”, “Why are you free to criticize the government?”, “Why is Rappler still open for business? Because it is a creeping authoritarianism, PRD pushes the envelope then waits for feedback. He backs up when an outcry develops and forge ahead when the masses ignore or let him get away with what he is doing. Democracy is a government of discussion while authoritarianism is a government of silence. It is up to Filipinos to further democracy by being assertive about their rights and by defending democratic institutions or further authoritarism by being deadma.

      • karlgarcia says:

        The frog has been in boiling water since Arroyo times ( The frog during Marcos and Erap already boiled) Aquino told the frog to come out of the pot, but the frog found the pot in Malacanang again during the time of Duterte and immeresed itself again, it will suffer the fate of all the frogs before him.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Anti-Arroyo blog commentary was active pre-Friendster.

          Pro-Arroyo or the so-called Luli Arroyo Internet brigade keeps on telling people that they should be thankful of their freedom.

          Though some if not most of us do enjoy that freedom, but:

          They should tell that to the Victims of Palparan and the ISAFP who just disappeared.

          The DDS should tell the widows and orphans about that so called freedom.

  6. karlgarcia says:

    An article with a video about the concerns of CHR about the ommision.

  7. edgar lores says:

    By the by, “Wag puro dakdak” is a put-down and, as such, is an ad hominem.

    Right there, @radon86 has breached civility.

    By the developing rules of online engagement, any personal attack is an automatic loss for the uncivil side.

  8. karlgarcia says:

    Seems good at first glance, but for domestic laws to trump human rights is all wrong.
    This means no intervention from other countries is allowed, it is as if Duterte drafted this.
    Another Duterteesque policy is that human rights might be limited to preserve national security.

    ASEAN Human Rights Declaration

    In 2009, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) established the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights to promote human rights in the ten ASEAN countries. By mid-2012, the Commission had drafted the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. The Declaration was adopted unanimously by ASEAN members at its 18 November 2012 meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Declaration details ASEAN nations’ commitment to human rights for its 600 million people. The Declaration includes 40 paragraphs under 6 headings.[1]

    The first five Articles affirm that human rights belong to “Every person,” specifically emphasizing that they belong to “women, children, the elderly, persons with disabilities, migrant workers, and vulnerable and marginalised groups (Art 5). Article 10 directly affirms “all the civil and political rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” and these are detailed in Articles 11- 25. Article 26 next affirms “all the economic, social and cultural rights in the Universal Declaration…,” with these described in Articles 27 to 34. The ASEAN Human Rights Declaration goes beyond the Universal Declaration by making explicit “the right to safe drinking water and sanitation” (Art. 28. e.), “the right to a safe, clean and sustainable environment” (Art 28.f.), protection from discrimination in treatment for “people suffering from communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS” (Art. 29), the “right to development … aimed at poverty alleviation, the creation of conditions including the protection and sustainability of the environment…(Art. 36), and the right to peace (Art. 30).[1]

    However, the Commission has been widely criticized for the lack of transparency and failure to consult with ASEAN civil society during drafting process.[2][3] The Declaration itself has been criticized by ASEAN civil society, international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International[4] and Human Rights Watch,[5] the U.S. Department of State,[6] and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.[3] Human Rights Watch described it as a “declaration of government powers disguised as a declaration of human rights”.[5] ASEAN civil societies have noted that “The Declaration fails to include several key basic rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to freedom of association and the right to be free from enforced disappearance.”[5] Further, the Declaration contains clauses that many fear could be used to undermine human rights, such as “the realization of human rights must be considered in the regional and national context” (Art. 7),[7] or that human rights might be limited to preserve “national security” or a narrowly defined “public morality” (Art. 8).[4]

    The U.S. Department of State and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomed the Declaration, but with substantive reservations. The U.S. State Department issued a statement of support, “in principle,” for “ASEAN’s efforts to develop a regional human rights declaration,” but expressing concern for “the use of the concept of ‘cultural relativism’ …, stipulating that domestic laws can trump universal human rights, incomplete descriptions that are mentioned elsewhere, introducing novel limits to rights, and language that could be read to suggest that individual rights are subject to group veto.”[6] The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights “welcomed the renewed commitment by leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to universal human rights norms” noting that “Other regions have shown how regional human rights systems can evolve and improve over time” and that “it is essential that ASEAN ensures that any language inconsistent with international human rights standards does not become a part of any binding regional human rights convention.”[3]

    • edgar lores says:

      To highlight the second sentence of the last paragraph:

      “The U.S. State Department issued a statement of support, “in principle,” for “ASEAN’s efforts to develop a regional human rights declaration,” but expressing concern for “the use of the concept of ‘cultural relativism’ …, stipulating that domestic laws can trump universal human rights, incomplete descriptions that are mentioned elsewhere, introducing novel limits to rights, and language that could be read to suggest that individual rights are subject to group veto.

    • “Cultural relativism”, as when President Duterte ignores human rights conventions as an offense to his personal sovereignty.

      The US will need to reconsider its own ways given the blatant disregard for human rights ideals in the rise of modern bigotry and ruthless treatment of the desperate who seek entry into the US. Some of that same “cultural relativism” seems to be applied by the US.

      • karlgarcia says:

        I agree.

      • It is Trump’s and his supporters’ “cultural relativism.” Be rest assured that most Americans are not affiliated with them nor want to be part of their selfish and abhorrent behavior. An overwhelming number of Americans still believe in Lady Liberty.

        “Give me your tired, your poor,
        Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
        The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
        Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
        I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

        ― Emma Lazarus

        It is a temporary setback. US still has a strong democracy combined with strong institutions. Its wheels of justice still work and they are cranking double time to right a wrong.

        • NHerrera says:

          JP: That’s my gut feel too as I read CNN, among others, about Trump and Mueller. By the way, Guiliani should star in SNL; he seems to do a good job at it.

          • Trump singlehandedly ruins his reputation by tweeting incessantly. Ang isda, nahuhuli sa bunganga. He is an outlier as far as Americans go. He is a piece of work, for sure.

            I do not know why Guiliani is becoming a court jester. He is on par with his client when it comes to blurting out incriminating declarations. Yes. He should be on SNL because he seems to love being under the spotlights. You can tell that he relishes televised personal interviews and being in the limelight.

  9. edgar lores says:

    I have been watching some of the demos for Senator Leila de Lima on FB.

    I am impressed by the crowds, the variety of people and speakers, and the raised voices.

    The chants have become ritual with speaker prayer and crowd response shouted in cadence loud and clear.

    Prayer: Leila de Lima!
    Response: Palayain!

    Prayer: Pekeng ebidensiya!
    Response: Ibasura!


  10. caliphman says:

    The most bothersome thing in the cited FB exchange between JoeAm and reader Radon is not the latter being convinced that the draft of the Federalist preserves and protects human rights. The JoeAm’sblog article and related comments points out why a critical comparison of the draft’s human rights provisions why this just is not so.

    What is really concerning is that the unspoken central big picture issue is that the draft legally legitimizes the imposition of dictatorial rule in the country. This disturbing to me in that this regime’s supporters are already willing to accept a dictatorship under Duterte and if the polls are accurate, the majority of Filipinos trust him enough in his leadership to allow him to do pretty much as he wishes.

    The thin hope is that there are enough readers who are still open-minded who can be swayed to actively or passively resist the regime’s initiatives and proposals that can be catastrophic to the country. If Radon is a diehard Dutertist or troll, it makes a lot of sense not to attack his hero but proposals that leave the country much worse off.

    • Leo says:

      A very keen observation. Indeed, that the drafters of this proposed constitution were either forced to phrase it that way giving in to the pressure from the current president or they have the foresight so that they can have a gigantic elbow room to become little dictators themselves when the time comes when we wake up hoodwinked into federalism by the “majority” still enamored to the self proclaimed “messiah of empty promises”.

      • A report is moving across Facebook that, according to a member, the Consulting Committee had no substantive deliberations about the text of the draft Constitution. They merely adopted the language given them by the Palace. That’s why human rights is placed under the Federal Government as a ‘sole power’, and why transition is given to the President.

  11. Killer says:

    What then, of a “comprehensively respected” person who participates in an act not seen to be participatory in a government process?

    • I’m sorry, please elaborate. I’m not getting the point.

      • Killer says:

        Good afternoon, Manong Joe. Apologies. I’m seeing the change in verbiage as rather limiting–as opposed to the claim that the new language is more comprehensive. A cynical interpretation could very easily be, “respect for persons, so long as they act in a manner which is deemed acceptable to government.” The problem here is who gets to say what is acceptable. I hope that’s better.

        • Ah, yes, thanks. I agree with you. It is a limiting and an imposing document. Plus it empowers the Federal Government to manage human rights and dispense with elections, should executive so decide. It is rather intimidating when the quality of trust is absolutely missing.

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