Amendments versus Revisions of the Constitution

How to Amend or Revise the Constitution

  1. Vote of 3/4 of all members of Congress 
  2. By Constitutional Convention 
    1. By vote of 2/3 of all its members
    2. Majority of all members – submit to electorate the question of calling for such convention
  3. People’s Initiative upon petition of 12% of total members of registered voters
    1. with every legislative istrict be represented by at least 3% of registered voters
    2. Limitation: no amendment shall be authorized within 5years following the ratification of the Constitution
      So take note that after ratification of amendment, 5 years must lapse first before another amendment can be made.

How to consider the amendment valid

When Ratified by majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held after approval:
– not earlier than 60 days
– not later than 90 days

Who certifies: COMELEC
What is certified: of the sufficiency of petition


An addition or change within the lines of the original constitution
– Effect: An improvement, that shall carry out better the purpose for which it was framed;
– a change that adds, reduces or deletes without altering the basic principles involved;
– affects only the specific provision being amended
[Lambino v. COMELEC, supra]

A change that alters a basic principle in the constitution, like altering the principle of separation of powers or the system of checks and balances;
alters the substantial entirety of the constitution, as when the change affects substantial provisions of the constitution
[Lambino v. COMELEC, supra]

Amendment generally and broadly affects only specific provisions; whereas revision affects several provisions and basically alters the meaning of the provisions it revises.

Subject to Judicial Review
Courts do not intervene on questions or issues that are political in nature
Courts, however, may review amendments if it followed the constitutional process
[Lambino v. COMELEC, supra].


Tests to determine whether the Proposal is an Amendment or Revision

  1. Quantitative Test
    – How extensive are the changes introduced (many – revision)
    – Whether it will substantially change the Constitution
    (yes – revision; no – amendment)
  2. Qualitative Test
    – Extent of the changes (even if there are few changes but the effect is so substantial that its effects are overreaching or basically alters the meaning of the provision, it shall be considered a revision)

Related Posts