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Federalism shift a lethal experiment — Davide

MANILA, Philippines — Shifting to a federal form of government will be a “lethal experiment” that will plunge the country into chaos, according to former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr.

Speaking at a business forum in Makati on Tuesday, Davide said changing the form of government will not be the solution to the problems that its supporters seek to address.

“A shift to federalism is a lethal experiment. A fatal leap. A plunge to death. A leap to hell,” the former chief magistrate said.

“The federal system of government is definitely not suited for our country and people of our generation and even those of the succeeding generations. It cannot fit into our history, culture, character, traditions, beliefs, hopes, aspirations and longings, and even our idiosyncrasies and peculiarities,” he added.

Instead, Davide urged the government to retain the current system and address problems without changing the 1987 Constitution.

He noted that the primary reason put forth by proponents of federalism is to address the inequality of power that is centered on the so-called imperial Manila.

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However, Davide said this can be addressed simply by amending the Local Government Code as the present Constitution already provides for strong local autonomy and decentralization among regions.

“In brief, effective decentralization or power sharing between the central government and the political subdivisions are already assured and mandated – not denied or impeded – by the Constitution,” he said.

“On the contrary, they are hampered or impeded by the failure to implement the Constitution,” Davide added.

The former chief justice warned that a shift to federalism would divide the people and push them to have double loyalties to the federal government and the states.

He added it would also bloat the bureaucracy and weaken the justice system.

“Under this federal bureaucracy, the poor would become poorer. Inevitably and unavoidably, the people would be burdened with more taxes of all kinds to support and maintain the federal bureaucracy,” Davide warned.

“This federal bureaucracy carries with it the creation of more juicy elective positions which could guarantee fortune, fame and power to shrewd politicians and their families. We shall have more political dynasties at the different strata,” he added.

Congress is currently looking at various proposals to amend the Constitution that will pave way for a shift to a federal form of government.

President Duterte has also created a commission that will come up with a draft constitution for the Federal Republic of the Philippines.

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