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Political Law (Constitutional Law) – Article XIII

ARTICLE XIII – SOCIAL JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Social Justice

1)   Social justice in the Constitution is principally the embodiment of the principle that those who have less in life should have more in law.

2)   The 1987 Constitution advances beyond what was in previous Constitutions in that it seeks not only economic social justice but also political social justice.

Principal activities in order to achieve social justice

1)   Creation of more economic opportunities and more wealth; and

2)   Closer regulation of the acquisition, ownership, use and disposition of property in order to achieve a more equitable distribution of wealth and political power.

Labor

  • Section 3 of Article XIII elaborates on the provision in Article II by specifying who are protected by the Constitution, what rights are guaranteed, and what positive measures the state should take in order to enhance the welfare of labor.

Right to organize and to hold peaceful concerted activities

  • Ø The right to organize is given to all kinds of workers BOTH in the PRIVATE and PUBLIC sectors.
  • Ø The workers have a right to hold peaceful concerted activities except the right to strike, which is subject to limitation by law.

Right to participate in the decision making process of employers

The workers have the right to participate on matters affecting their rights and benefits, “as may be provided by law”.  This participation can be through

1)               collective bargaining agreements,

2)               grievance machineries,

3)               voluntary modes of settling disputes, and

4)               conciliation proceedings mediated by government.

Agrarian Reform

Goals:

Agrarian reform must aim at

1)  efficient production,

2)  a more equitable distribution of land which recognizes the right of farmers and regular farmworkers who are landless to own the land they till, and

3)  a just share of other or seasonal farmworkers in the fruits of the land.

CARL as an exercise of police power and power of eminent domain
  • To the extent that the law prescribes retention limits for landowners, there is an exercise of police power. But where it becomes necessary to deprive owners of their land in excess of the maximum allowed there is compensable taking and therefore the exercise of eminent domain.
Reach of agrarian reform
  • It extends not only to private agricultural lands, but also to “other natural resources,” even including the use and enjoyment of “communal marine and fishing resources” and “offshore fishing grounds”.

The Commission on Human Rights

Composition:

1)   Chairman; and

2)   4 members

Qualifications:

1)   Natural-born citizens of the Philippines;

2)   Majority of the Commission must be members of the Philippine Bar;

3)  Term of office, other qualifications and disabilities shall be provided by law;

4)  The appointment of the CHR members is NOT subject to CA confirmation; and

5)  The CHR is not of the same level as the COMELEC, CSC, or COA.

Powers:

1)  Investigate all forms of human rights violations involving civil or political rights

A. Violations may be committed by public officers or by civilians or rebels.

B. CHR cannot investigate violations of social rights.

C. CHR has NO adjudicatory powers over cases involving human rights violations.

D. They cannot investigate cases where no rights are violated.

E. Example: There is no right to occupy government land, i.e. squat thereon. Therefore, eviction therefrom is NOT a human rights violation.

2)  Adopt operational guidelines and rules of procedure.

3)  Cite for contempt for violations of its rules, in accordance with the Rules of Court.

4) Provide appropriate legal measures for the protection of the 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 underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection.

A. CHR can initiate court proceedings on behalf of victims of human rights violations.

B. They can recommend the prosecution of human rights violators, but it cannot itself prosecute these cases.

C. BUT: The CHR cannot issue restraining orders or injunctions against alleged human rights violators. These must be obtained from the regular courts.

5)  Exercise visitorial powers over jails, prisons and other detention facilities.

6) Establish continuing programs for research, education and information in order to enhance respect for the primacy of human rights.

7)  Recommend to Congress effective measures to promote human rights and to provide compensation to victims of human rights violations or their families.

8)  Monitor compliance by the government with international treaty obligations on human rights.

9) 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 CHR investigation.

10) Request assistance from any department, bureau, office, or agency in the performance of its functions.

11)  Appoint its officers and employers in accordance with law.

12)  Perform such other functions and duties as may be provided for by law

 

Reference:

Political Law (Constitutional Law) Reviewer & Memory Aid

Ateneo Central Bar Operations 2001

Louie, Carrie, Evelyn, Thel, Gem, Ronald

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