Lecture Series: 60 Years Basic Law of Germany

Lecture Series with Prof. Dr. Dr. Rudolf Dolzer

This forum is organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in cooperation with the Bohol Chamber of Commerce, the city government of Cagayan de Oro and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.


The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) took advantage of the 60th Anniversary of the German Basic Law (the German constitution) which was approved on May 8, 1949 and organized a lecture series in the Philippines in partnership with the Supreme Court, the Philippine Judicial Academy, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Bohol Chamber of Commerce, University of Cebu and University of Cagayan de Oro. Guest lecturer was Prof. Dr. Dr. Rudolf Dolzer, who was invited by Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno as keynote speaker in the first distinguished Reynato S. Puno lecture series on May 7.

Prof. Dr. Dr. Dolzer served as a foreign policy adviser to former Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the largest commentary on the German constitution. He teaches international law at the University of Bonn. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Heidelberg and the Harvard Law School.

Dolzer expressed how the German Basic Law is the most accepted of all German constitutions. He also shared how this 146 article constitution, very different from the pre-war Weimar Constitution, was a result of hard work and 52 amendments (merely of a technical nature). A strength of this Basic Law is the concentration on the basic individual rights enumerated in 19 articles at the beginning of the constitution. Dolzer continued stating, “It is important to understand why individual rights are highlighted in the German Basic Law. The concept is a reaction to the way we perverted human rights during the Nazi period. Germany needed a constitution that would both ensure this never occurred again and at the same time assisted the nation after the devastation of World War II.”

During the first stop on May 3 at MetroCentre Hotel in Tagbilaran city, Bohol province, Congressman Edgar Chatto, 1st District of Bohol responded to Prof. Dolzer’s presentation by stating, “If we adapt the German constitution, the tourism in Bohol will increase and Tagbilaran city will be the state center of tourism in the near future with the help of Germans and foundations.” Governor Erico Aumentado of the province of Bohol, formerly a Congressman of 3 terms and a lawyer by profession, along with 50 entrepreneurs, lawyers, judges and law association participated in this lively forum.

5 days into his appointment, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany in Cebu city, Dr. Franz Seidenschwarz, joined the professor in addressing 100 justices, judges, deans, lawyers, law associations, media, and acting Mayor of Cebu City Michael Rama on May 4 at Casino Español de Cebu, Cebu city – the second leg of the series.

Mayor Constantino Jaraula of Cagayan de Oro city welcomed Prof. Dr. Dr. Dolzer during the final leg of the provincial visits at Pryce Plaza, Cagayan de Oro. This 3-term congressman turned mayor, who was coincidentally chairman of the Committee of Constitutional Amendments during his term in Congress, drafter one proposal after another in an attempt to change the 1987 constitution. Now in a different role, this creative attorney-at-law has found other ways to improve his beautiful city of Cagayan de Oro without the “ideal” assistance of the constitution, he implied.

Mr. Klaus Preschle, country representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, a foundation that has been promoting democracy and the rule of law in the Philippines since 1963, expressed, “With the Basic Law, Germans reformed the weak democracy of the 1920s and 1930s that brought about the Nazis into power with all its unfortunate consequences.” He continued to state, “Today, Germans are proud of their constitutional framework that guarantees prosperity, social justice, civil rights and the rule of law. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation celebrates this success by sharing this knowledge and experience with our Filipino friends across the nation.”

An energetic discussion occurred in all three of the cities with members of the judiciary, officials of the local and provincial governments, officials of law associations, deans and professors of law schools, officials and leaders of business communities and civic clubs, law students and media. They all agree that the Philippines as a nation has something to learn from this very successful constitution. The participants of all three fora were very grateful for the opportunity to discuss directly with an expert. They hope that this is merely the beginning of these types of interaction that will hopefully result to further strengthening of constitutional democracy.

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Tagbilaran (Bohol), Cebu City (Cebu), Cagayan de Oro City (Misamis Oriental)


  • Prof. Dr. Rudolf Dolzer
    • German Constitutional Court expert

      Klaus Preschle