Wanted: A new Philippine Constitution
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (Agence France-Presse) - September 10, 2019 - 12:00am

While I still support what Pres. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte for the so many positive things he has done for our country, however he seems to have lost his appetite for Charter Change, especially when I read the news that the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO) has dropped its information campaign on amendments to the 1987 Constitution supposedly set for next year, which is a hint that the Duterte administration has allegedly downplayed efforts for Charter Change to shift to a federal form of government.

As it turned out, PCOO Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag revealed that the information drive for the proposed shift to federalism is no longer pushing through. This report was given during the briefing on the proposed P1.697-billion budget of the agency for 2020 at the House of Representatives. In short, there is no budget anymore to pursue an education guide on the supposed shift to a federal form of government.

Call me disappointed with the president, because most presidents of this land came from Luzon and federalism isn’t something that the people of Luzon want or even understand, and I’m sure that so many of us who live in the Visayas and Mindanao want the Philippines to embrace a federal form of government. At this point, I would like to believe that then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte won his presidential bid because he was serious in pushing for this shift into a federal form of government. I would like to believe that the yellowtards suddenly lost their political light simply because, like the entire Aquino political family, they want to preserve the 1987 Constitution which is a constitution named after Cory Aquino.

Mind you, during the 14 years of martial law (1972-1986), the Marcos Dictatorship literally kidnapped the ongoing Constitutional Convention and called it the 1973 Marcos Constitution, which was politically the right constitution to change our 1935 Constitution, because we shifted into a parliamentary form of governance. Unfortunately, it was still a year after martial law was declared and so the implementation of the 1973 Constitution was marred by the fact that we were still in the midst of a dictatorship, where then Pres. Ferdinand Marcos kept the presidency and give the position of prime minister to Cesar Virata. That would have been perfectly all right except for one major issue; Virata had no political power!

Hence, people supporting the Marcos Dictatorship called it a Philippine type of parliamentary system, which was truly unacceptable to the Filipino people. In short, all the expenses our nation spent for the 1973 Constitution was for naught! Then came the EDSA Revolution of 1986, which removed the Marcos Dictatorship and put the widow of the assassinated senator Ninoy Aquino Jr. as the president to succeed the Marcos Dictatorship. Back then I was with Vice President Salvador “Doy” Laurel and we demanded to throw away the 1973 Constitution and return to the 1935 Constitution which was created during the Commonwealth years and considered a good constitution.

Alas, the new powers-that-be began to call 49 people to change the 1973 Constitution rather than return to the 1935 Constitution. Meanwhile, then President Cory Aquino ruled with the Freedom Constitution, which is no different from being a dictator after the Marcos Dictatorship.

This is why when Tita Cory created the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program she decreed to include all the lands, except the Hacienda Luisita where by special decree they could sell only shares of stocks. Mind you, when former chief justice Renato Corona ruled en banc that this was unconstitutional, the Aquino Family moved to have their own Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III as the next president after Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the rest is political history.

In short, what this country really needs is for Pres. Duterte to work on in the last three years of his presidency to push for a dramatic change in our political form of government, give only proper salaries to our congressmen and control the size of their official vehicles and places to stay, like most of the Scandinavian politicians. After all, all politicians are employees of the government whether they like it or not.

Remember, we haven’t forgotten the president’s campaign promises in 2016 that under a federal form of government the country will be divided into at least 17 regions. Meanwhile, what happens to the consultative committee led by retired chief justice Reynato Puno that drafted the proposed Federal Constitution?

vsbobita@gmail.com

RODRIGO DUTERTE
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