Cooperation in legislation
(The Freeman) - July 12, 2019 - 12:00am

There seems to be a misconception of the democratic principle of Separation of Powers. Checks and balances between legislative, executive, and judiciary powers are designed to avoid the abuse of power in government.

The Constitution prescribes that House of Representatives, Senate, and president with his resort secretaries work apart from each other. This leads to duplication in lawmaking and the necessity to have a bicameral bill-reconciling commission. Their efforts are annihilated if the president vetoes the act. A procedure that wastes time and money.

Cooperation between the three powers is more efficient. They should sit together in one building from first fielding of a bill on through three lectures. Then the passed act would already contain all the suggestions, concerns, misgivings, and inputs from the three institutions.

It must not be the president himself who accompanies the debates in plenary and deliberations in the commissions. It is enough that the secretary or secretaries whose resorts are involved in the bill bring in their objections and rewording proposals.

The presidential legislative liaison officer keeps the president up-to-date and informs the united lawmaking body on the president’s opinions and wishes. That way legislation is simplified and expedited for the benefit of the people.

What the Constitution should prescribe is a strict separation of persons in the three branches of government: No person can at the same time be a member of the legislative, executive, and judiciary.

The principle is outrageously violated and counteracted in the Philippines: Lawmakers execute their own laws. It is called the Pork Barrel system. In a mature democracy it is the exclusive task of the president and his resort secretaries to implement the laws. Their administrators are the professionals who know the restrictive prescriptions in spending the taxpayers’ money. If they take undue advantage President Duterte kicks them out and replaces them with honest men.

Philippine lawmakers grant themselves P70 million per representative and P200 million per senator to execute their pet projects to delight their constituents and to stimulate reelection. A major part of the money usually goes to their own pockets as kickbacks, and to their local business friends and their friends in the judiciary who take care of their impunity. No wonder that all that is called national is in a dire condition.

There is hope that the 18th Congress on initiative of the president will amend the Constitution in order to use taxpayers’ money exclusively for development of the nation and the benefit of 110 million Filipinos.

Erich Wannemacher

Lapu-Lapu City

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