Wanted: Charter change

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila - The Freeman

Now that the rains are gone, I would like to emphasize the need for all the barangays situated along our riverbeds and creeks to start cleaning up our rivers while we’re not having any rains. At this point I would like to suggest that each barangay come up with a garbage bin where people with plastic bottles can throw them for a specified fee. This is one way to encourage people to throw their garbage in the proper places.

*  *  *

If you want to see how the political setup for the up and coming elections of 2022 is shaping up, look at the news yesterday that said the ascent of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has further strengthened the super majority in the House of Representatives, with 284 of the 301-member chamber now belonging to the administration coalition led by President Duterte’s PDP-Laban party. This has decimated the formerly 28-member House minority bloc led by Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr., who himself has joined the Velasco-led majority. Meanwhile, House insiders told The Philippin STAR that Duterte’s ally, former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte, “showed his true colors” by joining the three independent minority blocs. As we all know, Bebot Alvarez was ousted as speaker in July 2018 and replaced by former president-turned-Pampanga congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in what many reports said was engineered by the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. The President has since apologized to Alvarez over the matter.

Speaking to The STAR, Bebot Alvarez denied a falling out with the Chief Executive, despite reports he had repeatedly attacked Duterte in his local radio station, earning the ire of the Duterte family, especially the mayor.

As the report goes, House insiders attributed the tumultuous downfall of ousted speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to Alvarez’s categorical endorsement of his speakership, going against the groove of the term-sharing deal with Velasco, which was brokered by the President.

What’s sure at this point is that the House minority has at least 16 members seven from the opposition Liberal Party; the six perennial opposition party-list representatives of the Makabayan bloc; and three from the Villar-led Nacionalista Party (NP) that used to support Cayetano.

With Abante’s flight from the minority bloc, there is still a number of party-list representatives left in the group, including Abang-Lingkod Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano whom party stalwarts said would take over as minority leader.

Meanwhile, the breakdown of the supermajority coalition consists of: 53 from Duterte’s ruling party; 53 from the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. led by 1Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero; 47 from NP; 45 from the National Unity Party; 41 from Nationalist People’s Coalition; 21 from Lakas-CMD; 12 from localized parties like Sara’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago in the Davao region; 11 administration-allied members of the opposition LP, and one independent congressman.

It turns out that House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez’s role was crucial in consolidating the support for the new leadership in the House, with Dasmariñas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. also backing the new Speaker. Velasco has since said the process of healing is underway.

Bulacan Rep. Florida Robes said she is delighted that the leadership impasse in the House was resolved peacefully and amicably. She said, “I believe that Speaker Velasco and Romualdez are both righteous and committed to steer the House of Representatives to new heights to become a more effective and responsive institution to serve the Filipino people especially in these trying times.”

At this point, allow me to suggest that with a strong super majority in the house supporting the President, it is high time to call for a constitutional change of the 1987 Constitution. This could only happen if Congress as a unified body voted for a change in the charter, perhaps into a parliamentary form of government, where they can vote to have President Duterte as a constitutional president with powers to dissolve congress. This way Pres. Duterte can retire in a new Philippine Parliament, which is good for the nation and the country.

*  *  *

For email responses to this article, write to [email protected]  His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with