BETWEEN now and the top of the current Congress, there could be no time left to work on any revision of or modification to the 1987 Structure. This requires the 2 Homes of Congress to take a seat collectively as one, and to vote individually on each proposal. Between now and December, they might be too busy making an attempt to cross the P3.757 trillion price range for fiscal yr 2019, assuming the existence of a day by day quorum; till subsequent Might, a number of the 24 senators, and most, if not all, of the 297 congressmen can be on the marketing campaign path.
Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is aware of this. Regardless of this grim actuality, the Speaker and 21 of her Home colleagues have filed a draft revision of the Structure proposing a shift to the federal system, lifting present time period limits and deleting the Vice President’s identify from the constitutional line of presidential succession. This proposal is after President Rodrigo Duterte’s coronary heart, however it might be doomed to fail. If the only intention is to please DU30, no matter what occurs to the proposal, that is it. One can name it a political “brilliancy,” a class act on the a part of the previous president.
The Structure, as I’ve tirelessly identified on this column, permits the president no public position in proposing any constitutional revision or modification. DU30’s “federalism” seeks to “balkanize” slightly than consolidate the unitary Philippine republic; it has no purpose for being, until the proposal seeks to include Sabah and the Spratlys into the brand new Federal Republic of the Philippines. All of DU30’s financial advisers have warned it might wreck the nation’s financial system due to its added value; if there’s anybody in authorities who speaks the language of the financial managers, it’s the economist Mrs. Arroyo, and she or he has not stated they’re incorrect.
Abolishing the vice chairman
Rightly or wrongly, pretty or unfairly, DU30 has a terribly low opinion of vice chairman Leni Robredo, whose 2016 election is being contested earlier than the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) by former senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. Until the presidential system is being abolished in favor of the parliamentary system, the proposal to take away the vice chairman from the road of presidential succession, and to switch him/her with the senate president, has no rational foundation. It might be grounded on political prejudice towards its incumbent holder, however it isn’t supported by any sound constitutional or political precept.
For causes of delicadeza, Senate President Vicente Sotto third, is compelled to right away voice his opposition to it. One of many main rules in laws is that nobody ought to enact a regulation for one’s personal private profit. The strongman Marcos didn’t should undergo this when he abolished the Workplace of Vice President, occupied on the time by Fernando Lopez of the Meralco-Manila Chronicle-ABS-CBN enterprise political empire. All he needed to do was to declare he had grow to be “allergic” to the vice chairman, and that was all.
The current state of affairs isn’t the identical. DU30 might rant towards Robredo all he needs, and even achieve ousting her, however he can’t permit his private and political prejudice to contaminate the Structure. Ought to Bongbong Marcos win his protest, Leni must step down, but when the proposed new regulation on succession prevails, Bongbong would then turn into a vice chairman with out official duties and with out the fitting to succession. Even when nothing occurs to his protest, Leni can be out of workplace by 2022, and the subsequent vice chairman would nonetheless haven’t any official duties and no proper to presidential succession.
It was subsequently needed that the Arroyo camp authorize Majority Chief Nonoy Andaya, who like Robredo hails from Camarines Sur, to withdraw the anti-Robredo proposal. The message has been delivered — GMA has sufficiently demonstrated that she absolutely helps DU30 in every part he needs to do. And thru Andaya she has succeeded in correcting an apparent error with out telling DU30, to his face, that he was lifeless incorrect. This is the reason I say her submitting of her draft was a brilliancy, a “class act” that’s not straightforward to mimic. She has morphed into a grasp politician.
Mrs. Arroyo ends her final time period as congresswoman from Pampanga on June 30, 2019. Until she runs for the Senate and wins, she can be out of elective workplace by then. She might, if she likes, settle for a Cupboard appointment after that, however there’s the danger of the remainder of the Cupboard listening to her slightly than to the President throughout and after Cupboard conferences.
Killing ‘federalism’ gently
As for DU30’s proposal to shift to the inverted federal system, it will die a pure dying if and when the Congress, as a constituent meeting, fails to enact it earlier than its 2019 adjournment. The rule is that each one legislative proposals that stay unacted upon over the past session of a specific Congress are buried within the Archives, by no means to be touched once more, until revived later within the subsequent Congress as a completely new proposal.
However after June 30, 2019, it’s affordable to hope that a new set of realities would have set in. The new Congress may need added a few extra unbiased voices on the ground, and DU30, if he continues to be “cancer-free” as his particular presidential assistant Bong Go has tried to guarantee everybody, might produce other priorities and preoccupations.
If and when that occurs, we should always all be grateful to Mrs. Arroyo for her proposal which had happy the strongman however in the long run did not prosper. This, nevertheless, shouldn’t finish or deter our effort to remedy the essential flaws in our Structure. This could not exchange our seek for the suitable women and men who ought to run the nation’s affairs — we ought to be doing this proper now — however we should always now take away all of the atrocities which were inflicted by all types of “do-gooders” upon our Structure.
We should always now make the right elementary decisions for the society we would like and have to develop into. Precisely what type and construction of presidency do we have to ship the specified end result? Proper purpose and sober considering, not ideology or reckless sloganeering, ought to rule.
Whether or not we ought to be a unitary republic or a “federal union” is already a settled query. Though we’re an archipelago of over 7,000 islands, we’ve got lengthy opted to turn out to be a unitary state of over 300,000 sq. kilometers. Until we embrace Sabah on the southern finish, and the Spratly islands off Palawan and the neighboring littoral areas, “federalism” is just out of the query. We’ve no separate or unbiased territories anyplace to “federalize.”
To carve the unitary state into 18 autonomous federal models, as proposed by the unconstitutionally created constitutional consultative committee on “federalism,” is to “balkanize” the unitary state, like the previous Yugoslavia, which has disappeared from the map. The concept is “null and void ab initio,” to make use of Solicitor Common Jose Calida’s notorious phrase, which has grow to be the idea of two of DU30’s most abominable selections.
The parliamentary choice
It might not be mistaken to reexamine the type of authorities for the subsequent generations of Filipinos. Is the presidential system working or do we have to shift to parliamentary authorities? We’ve got heard all of the arguments earlier than. They appear to tilt in favor of the parliamentary system. DU30’s unconstitutional excesses lend even larger power to the argument. The most potent argument is that till now we have now not discovered to conduct a really trustworthy and credible presidential election. All our elections from 1986 onward have been flawed, and for probably the most half have produced de facto presidents and senators. DU30’s personal election has been flawed by the unresolved allegations of dishonest within the vice-presidential contest.
We have to downsize our elections. The entire nation is required to decide on a president, a vice chairman and senators from a set of candidates whom the voters have solely heard of, however know nothing about. In a parliamentary system, the voters simply vote for a member of parliament (MP) for his or her district; then the elected MPs select the prime minister. Dishonest might be regulated inside the parliamentary districts, and there could be no dishonest in selecting the prime minister.
At current, the elections are “supervised” by the Fee on Elections. Their personnel, with the rarest exceptions, are solely corruptible, they usually have entrusted the conduct of the voting and the counting of votes to Smartmatic, a overseas election supplier, which has its personal agenda, and may equally be suborned by corrupt politicians. On prime of that, we’ve got a political class whose first and final agenda is to be in energy by no matter means attainable.
We’ve got no political events to ensure good authorities: most candidates are self-nominated with the assistance of crooked opinion surveys. Nationwide candidates require monumental assets to marketing campaign. On my two profitable senatorial runs, in 1992 and 1995, I spent no more than P3 million at first, and a little greater than P7 million on my reelection, whereas some candidates spent P200 million to P300 million every and misplaced. I’ve all the time believed that no candidate ought to spend greater than they anticipate to earn from their jobs; in any other case, one is already corrupted even earlier than one’s first day in workplace.
Downsizing and different reforms
Even when we don’t shift to parliamentary authorities, there may be no argument towards downsizing our elections. There are different reforms. Ought to the presidential system keep, we have to be sure that within the subsequent election, a vote for the presidential candidate of 1 social gathering is counted as a vote for his or her operating mate, and that the present time period limits are abolished. The present DU30-Robredo state of affairs ought to be the final case of its variety, and we should always be capable of lastly abolish time period limits. Meant as a reform to “democratize access to public office,” time period limits have induced the insane proliferation of political dynasties, because the spouse, son or daughter rushes in to switch a politician who’s being termed out. This has made politics the nation’s most profitable household enterprise.
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