Monday, August 31, 2009

How to read Con Com Record W

When there is debate about a constitutional provision and what the authors of the document meant, people normally would go to the Record of the Constitutional Commission of 1986. This is a five volume work where everything said during the deliberations are recorded word for word.

When reading it, it is good to remember that it is a work in progress. Thus, in the early stages of the debate, one will find statements in support or in opposition to any proposal. Up to the day votes are cast on the proposal, conflicting statements can still be found. In decipering wha the Commissioners approved, one must look at the final votes to see which of the conflicting positions won the support of the Commission.

The current debate on whether Estrada can run again is typical. You will find writers quoting opposing positions. You must ask when those positions were expressed and which of them won the support of the majority. The winning position expresses the intent of the Commission as a body.

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