My Constitutional Law Class
Unlike most law professors which apply escuela brevi for the first day, I take this opportunity to get to know my 38 or so students intimately, and also the chance to orient them as to what constitutional law is all about.
It is interesting for law students to be taking up Constitutional Law just when everything about the Constitution is about to be massacred. The People’s Initiative makes a mockery of the constitutional mechanism for charter change, E. O. 464 insults the intelligence of the masses and the Supreme Court by mismatching the constitutional provision from their intent, CPR belittles the right to free expression and peaceful assembly by holding rallies hostage to a permit, PP 1017 broadens executive power hitherto unknown since General Order No. 6 of the 1973 Constitution.
On the other hand, it is just as challenging mulling what constitutional muscle is being used by the other side to counter the administration’s propaganda. First and foremost is the impending impeachment that is set to be filed within this month. The previously spent force of the opposition is gearing up and no matter how steep the uphill climb may seem, the Oracions, the Pastors and the Garduces of the opposition, civil society, and all the allied political forces are set to once more file an impeachment complaint against the President.
Have they not learned their lesson? The answer to that question is misdirected. It is not they who have not learned their lesson but the administration. For as long as the administration continues to peddle obfuscation, deceit, and fraud to maintain its hold on power, the pro-impeachment people will continue to pound the lessons on good government, honesty and public service over and over again until either the dam of outrage shall burst or the president give in to her Jiminy Cricket.
There are other mechanisms that the constitution can provide to fight a government that is ill-willed, ill-tempered and ill mannered. Constitutional Law provides the arsenal of all those mechanisms and it is exciting to live in these interesting times, contrary to the Chinese curse.
I spoke once to Dean Raul Pangalangan, former UP law dean and he mentioned that he used to find Constitutional Law I boring but since this president became the incumbent, the structures of government, once a soporific topic, is now as exciting as the death penalty.
It is this reason that I am enthused to teach Constitutional Law. The bedrock of our laws is about to be shaken by the powers trembling knowing that their end is in sight and their day of reckoning coming soon. To empower the law students to realize that the constitution cannot be tinkered with so trivially is already winning half the battle. The minds and hearts of these law students, properly trained in the appreciation of the constitution, will be witnesses in the same manner that twenty years ago, I was taking up Constitutional Law when we lived and witnessed that exciting and glorious EDSA Revolution.
I hope my law students will have a chance to experience the same epiphany I had in 1986. May we truly live in interesting times!