Whatever the Constitution does not prohibit is allowed

By Francine Bustamante


This was someone’s comment on Facebook in response to a post on President Duterte’s potential run for vice-president in 2022. It received a quick retort: ‘Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s right.’ Boom.


The Constitution is the rule of law, but humanity does not live by a set of rules alone. It leads by example and a set of social, moral and ethical values. If we need to corral humanity to make us do the right thing, then we might as well still be hanging by the branches of a tree, hair in all the wrong places and walking on fours.


Principles and values are not ‘bottled’ into laws. They are often ‘lines in the sand’ that a society won’t cross, foundational beliefs that people hold true. Not everything has a reference point. There are things we see through our own tinted glasses- values we learned from experience, beliefs we hold true because we know it is true.


The circumstances surrounding my father’s death is an example. (His death anniversary is in the month of July.) It colored my view of the idea of injustice. I decided it is something that society should reject because it can only take root when we let it. It taught me to speak up when I see wrong, and not close my eyes and live in my singularity. I have to live with myself, after all, and like what stares back at me in the mirror.


When framers pen their Constitution, I imagine they do so believing in the fundamental decency of humanity, in the basic goodness of man. They believe in their society’s values and norms. So if you see anything not clearly spelled out in the Philippine Constitution, think of it this way: the framers believe in your basic decency, in your moral compass. Don’t let them down.


Editor’s note: Francine Bustamante is a hobby writer originally from Albay and now based in the USA. A trained finance professional, she pens articles of general interest.