HomeDLSU Dialogue: An Interdisciplinary Journal for Cultural Studiesvol. 24 no. 1 (1989)

The Intent and Meaning of the Constitutional Provision on the US Military Bases in the Philippines

Emmanuel O. Sales

Discipline: Social Studies



The constitution is not a lawyer's document.


Its words and provisions are to be read and construed in their ordinary and not technical meaning. I There are, to be sure, some phrases or concepts in this document which had acquired a special meaning of their own. But since the Constitution is identified to be the handiwork of the Filipino people,2 its language should be generally understood in the way it is commonly used.

More importantly, the Constitution is the measure of validity of any governmental act. It is the fundamental law, and thus, any action proceeding from the government and its three great branches should abide by what the Constitution provides. Congress, in enacting laws, the President, in executing the laws, and the courts, in interpreting the laws should be guided by the provisions of the Constitution. Otherwise, the people can always invoke the Constitution to question and annul these public actions. The Constitution, therefore, is the basic and, supposedly, permanent document in our legal system. What then does the Constitution say about the US Military Bases in the Philippines?