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ON JULY 10, 1934, the Filipino voters elected at least 202 delegates to a constitutional convention which drafted the Philippine Constitution.
Headed by Claro M. Recto, the Constitutional Convention of 1934 was responsible for framing the 1935 Commonwealth Constitution which was approved by President Franklin Roosevelt on March 23, 1935.
It has been said that the 1935 Constitution was the best-written Philippine charter ever, which followed the American model in structure and formal appearance, except for a unicameral legislature and a unitary (as against a federal) system of government.
Notably, the so-called "Seven Wise Men" -- Filemon Sotto, chairman, and Norberto Romualdez, Manuel Roxas, Vicente Singson Encarnacion, Manuel C. Briones, Miguel Cuaderno, and Conrado Benitez (who replaced Jose P. Laurel) -- prepared the draft of the Constitution.
The framers of the Constitution were beneficiaries of the American system of education and familiar with American political concepts of democracy and government. Still, the Constitution reflected the historical experience of the Filipinos and included provisions such as separation of Church and State, and limitations on the size of agricultural lands to be owned by private individuals or corporations.
It also reflected certain cultural values unique in the Philippine tradition, such as the principle of state supremacy over the individual and exaltation of authority. (Philippine News Agency)