The Majority Rules In a Democracy But In The Philippines It Is Not Always True

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The Majority Rules In a Democracy But In The Philippines It Is Not Always True

Topic |  


Article II, Section 1 of the 1986 Constitution says, “The Philippines is a democratic and republican State.  Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”

“Demo” means people and “…cracy” means government.  “Democracy”, according the USA President Abraham Lincoln means “the government of the people, by the people, and for the people”.

Concomitant with this definition is that the majority of the people rules.  Do you know that per the 1986 Constitution it may happen that the minority will rule?


Art. II, Section 4

Let us just paraphrase Art. II, Section 4 of the Constitution because it is very long; “The returns of every election for President and Vice President, duly certified…shall be transmitted to Congress..The person having the highest number of votes shall be proclaimed elected…”

Bear in mind that the provision does not say “majority of the votes cast”, which ought to be the case in a democracy.

Poll Surveys

The poll surveys show that among the candidates for President and Vice President nobody has a poll rating of 50% plus one.  In the recent poll survey, the highest poll rating was only 38% of the voting population.  It is very far from the majority.

It is very clear that if the trend will continue until the May 9, 2016 National Election, the winner will not obtain the majority of the votes.  However, our constitution says that only the highest vote getter will be proclaimed elected. It is a situation that is contrary to democratic principles declared by our constitution where the winner should have the majority of the votes or 50% plus one.


Other Democratic Countries


In other democratic countries, if nobody gets the majority of the votes, they will have a “run-off’ election.  Usually only the top two vote getters will be the candidates in a run-off election.  It is done to insure that the winner will have the majority of the votes.

In the United States of America, from where we copied our political system, they are always sure that the winner will obtain the majority.

When they vote they are not actually voting for the candidates but for the electors that promised to vote for the candidate.


The electors are members of the Electoral College composed of members equal to the number of Senators.  In effect there are only 200 electors.  These electors are proportioned to the different states in accordance to its population.

In every State, it is always “winner-take-all”. If a particular State has 10 electoral votes, all the 10 votes will be given to the winner in that particular State.  After the election the electoral votes of every candidate will be summed up.  The candidate that obtained the highest electoral votes will be declared the winner.


So far in the United States, after more than 200 years of existence, the winner always obtained the majority of the Electoral College.  However, it has already occurred that the winner in the Electoral Votes was defeated in the actual number of votes casts.

The Conclave

“Conclave” is the term given to the election of the Roman Catholic Pope.  It is an election that adheres closely to democratic principles.

All the Cardinals are gathered in one large room.  All Cardinals are qualified to become the Pope, so there are no nominations of candidates.  The Cardinals will vote for a Pope.  If no Cardinal will obtain majority of the votes, the process of voting will be repeated again and again until someone obtained the majority of the votes.  The process may take a long time to finish.  In the history of the conclave there was a time that the process lasted for more than a year.

In The Philippines

When the Philippines was using the “two party” system, the winner always obtained the majority of the votes.

The 1986 Constitution has declared a “multi-party” system.  However, it did not provide for a “run-off” election to determine a winner by majority of the votes.

President Fidel V. Ramos became President of the Philippines with only minority of the votes cast.  The Filipinos accepted the situation.

However there is a looming danger if we declare as winner the candidate that did not obtain the majority of the votes.  There may come a time when there will be too many candidates for President and the minority vote will be too small that it will be ludicrous to accept the highest vote as representative of the will of the people.

Supposing all the 24 Senators will run for President plus some strong local candidate similar to Mayor Duterte of Davao City, they could not be declared “nuisance” candidates because they are proven capable of conducting a national campaign.

If by that time there will be 50 million voters in the Philippines to be shared almost equally by 25 candidates the highest vote will be somewhere in 2 million votes.  Do you think the 2 million votes or 4% will represent the 50 million voters?

I really agree that it is time to change the Constitution before chaos will occur. (By Jes B. Tirol)

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