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Group pushes federal form of government

Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) - July 22, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A group of former government and Cabinet officials urged President Aquino yesterday to shift to a federal form of government as the present Constitution has failed to adjust to the nation’s changing needs.

Former chief justice Reynato Puno, lead convenor of the Bagong Sistema, Bagong Pag-asa (BSBP), pointed out that “our present form of government caused the majority to be deaf and dumb to the distinct needs of the minority, and gave them arrogance to impose uniformity despite the pluralism of the people.”

“Our experience under a unitary-presidential form of government runs for 80 years now. The question is, what has this unitary-presidential form of government brought to our people?” Puno said.

The group claimed that the unitary form of government has failed the country “for the longest time,” as Puno cited the imbalance of powers not only among the three branches of government but also between the national government and the local government units and autonomous regions.

“We have a government where power is tilted too much in favor of the executive,” Puno said. “Arguably, the biggest abuse of power in our tripartite government has been committed in our executive department.”

“Our democracy has collapsed under one president. We have a very strong president who has too much power,” he added.

The former chief justice made his pitch for federalism during a BSBP summit dubbed as “Securing the Country’s Future” at Club Filipino in Greenhills yesterday.

Aside from Puno, former Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr., former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, former budget secretary Salvador Enriquez Jr., former 1986 Constitutional Commission member Rene Sarmiento, former University of the Philippines president Jose Abueva, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and economist and author Calixto Chikiamco also aired their views.

They claimed that federalism is “the best hope for our distinct minorities to be allowed self-rule” – referring to Muslims in Mindanao.

ACIRC AQUILINO PIMENTEL JR. BAGONG PAG BAGONG SISTEMA CALIXTO CHIKIAMCO CLUB FILIPINO CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION FORMER GOVERNMENT JOSE ABUEVA PUNO
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