Long shot
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - October 13, 2014 - 12:00am

No matter how hard I try to look for that silver lining beyond our dark political clouds, I just cannot find any trace of it anymore. Right after we had the 2010 presidential elections, said silver lining seemed to be still glimmering behind those foreboding overcast political skies as we supposedly elected a reformist president who has been touted as “personally honest.” Indeed the hopes of a great majority of Filipinos were then rekindled as he promised to lead us to a daang matuwid towards a just, peaceful and prosperous society.

Unfortunately, after four years in office, exactly the opposite of the simmering expectations we nurtured at that time is happening now. The silver lining has completely disappeared. Of course the drumbeaters and people around this President still insist that he is “personally honest.” But his decisions and actions simply say otherwise. Using public funds to influence members of Congress to do his bidding and backing up government officials who are his kabarkada, kaibigan o kabarilan but who have been obviously lying in explaining their newly acquired wealth, are definitely not the acts of a “personally honest” President.

And considering further that the leading contender aiming to succeed this president under our kind of dirty politics and flawed electoral processes also has some shady background, which he has not or cannot satisfactorily erase, the future of our country really looks grim if we continue with the present set-up. Obviously this is the reason for the calling and formation of a National Transformation Council (NTC) by a group of Filipino Catholics and other Christians as well as Muslims.

The NTC which has already been successfully launched in Lipa and Cebu City has correctly assessed the dire situation of our country now and so its convenors are calling for a change in the kind of government we now have. And as an initial step they are asking the entire Aquino government to relinquish their posts.

Under the present legal set up, their moves seem to be so radical and impractical as to be considered desperate. But we cannot really blame them for taking such desperate steps under our present seemingly desperate situation. This is indeed what we need today. We have to change our system of government. It may require a miracle but it can happen with our wholehearted cooperation and with strong faith.

In this connection, even some of our countrymen now residing in other countries have contributed some suggestions. In fact our countrymen from Canada led by Mr. Guillermo Cunanan have made some suggestion on the change of our government. Mr. Cunanan is proposing a “modified parliamentary system of government that is similar and has the efficiency of the corporate system including an effective system of checks and balances. He said that “corporations bigger than the Philippines, many with worldwide operations, are run efficiently. If “the corporate system is a tried and tested system of running organizations why not use it to run a country? he asked.

According to our Filipino compatriots in Canada, “the corporate set-up combined with a process of indirect elections of members of the parliament through electoral colleges should be able to minimize the problems that put our country on the road to perdition. The proposed electoral process is less costly, less prone to cheating, and more difficult to manipulate. All these features should produce for us more competent and honest leaders which is necessary for efficient and trustworthy governance.”

The suggestion is quite complete and even enumerates the step by step process. Since it cannot be accommodated in this space, let me just highlight some of them.

“At the highest level of government we propose a parliament of only fifteen members which, like the board of a corporation, shall be responsible for setting the direction of the country and for hiring and firing our key government executives. The Parliament shall be the ultimate approving authority for most of the proposals concerning the affairs and direction of the country.

The members of the parliament shall not perform any function that is executive in character. That is exclusively a function that the appointed Executive Minister and the executive body have to perform.

The Parliament shall be the nation’s sole legislative body. It shall approve the laws that are crafted and proposed by either a National Assembly, by the Prime Minister or by the Defense Minister. The Parliament, however, may on its own also initiate the formulation and approval of laws.

(This presupposes that the interim government will re-constitute the country into only fifteen (15) political regions.)

1st step: Each barangay shall elect one representative, who will not hold any other government position, to become a member of the District Electoral College (DEC).  

Considering that the electors will not hold any other government position or any executive or legislative power, and therefore they will have no position that will give them the opportunity to recover any election expenses, there won’t be much incentive for the aspirants to spend.  

2nd  step: Each DEC will then elect an individual (not one from among its members) to be the district nominee to the Parliament.

Since the members of the DEC are aware that their chosen nominee will compete with the best of every other district, they logically will vote for one who is among the best of their district. To choose an incompetent guy who stands no chance of being elected to the Parliament will be a wasteful exercise. This part of the process therefore eliminates the mediocre even though popular aspirants from the race.

3rd  step: All the district nominees shall convene regionally to elect among themselves their representative to the Parliament. Each region shall be represented by a member of the Parliament. The political geographic structure shall be realigned to have only 15 regions which will eventually constitute the 15 States in a Federal government.

Apparently the NTC action and this suggestion can be considered a long shot. But it may be worth taking in the dying seconds of the game.

E-mail: attyjosesison@gmail.com


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