Just one good idea to copy from America

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - November 13, 2020 - 12:00am

One good aspect in the US political system that I feel is apropos for the Filipinos is the package deal in electing their president and vice president. Whoever wins the presidency would automatically carry his or her vice presidential teammate. This way, we can always expect harmony between the two highest executive officials of the land.

It has been said that the Philippine Constitution was copied from the US, especially its Bill of Rights. Bicameralism was also copied from America. In the 1987 Constitutional Convention, unicameralism was defeated only by one vote. Our delegates from Cebu, Hilario G. Davide, Jr. and Regalado Maambong voted for unicameralism. Many Filipinos agree with the unicameralists. Had Napoleon G. Rama, (Vice Mayor Mike Rama's uncle), the Constitutional Commission's majority floor leader, voted for unicameralism, we would have only one chamber today, less expensive, more orderly, more effective and efficient. But we copied America and by just one vote, we do suffer from the constant impasse between the Senate and the House.

But one good copy is the package deal in the top two officials. I really feel that lumping together the president and the vice-president is much better for us. Based on our history, the ideal team of President Manuel L. Quezon and his vice president, Sergio Osmeña, proved very useful in the campaign for Philippine independence. The passion, aggressiveness and eloquence of Quezon teaming up with the cool, mature, and low-key brilliant mind of Osmeña did our country so much. The teamwork between President Manuel Roxas and Elpidio Quirino as well as the partnership of Quirino and Vice President Fernando Lopez did well during those early years of our independence. This is also true in the case of President Ramon F. Magsaysay and vice president Carlos P. Garcia. Quezon and Osmeña belonged to the same Nacionalista Party, like Magsaysay and Garcia. Roxas and Quirino and Lopez then were Liberal Party mates.

In contrast, Garcia, an NP, had problems with vice president Diosdado Macapagal, an LP. Macapagal had no problem with Emmanuel Pelaez, an LP too. The same was true with Ferdinand Marcos and Fernando Lopez. Both Marcos and Lopez were formerly with LP who left their party and shifted to NP. Cory Aquino and Doy Laurel were both running under UNIDO, but it was a “marriage” of convenience, and much sooner than later, they bickered and parted ways. FVR's vice president lost to Erap, but they clicked well, as an exception to the rule. Erap, a PMP (Partido ng Masang Pilipino) was “stabbed” in the back by his vice president, GMA, who belonged to Lakas. GMA chose Teofisto Guingona who later denounced her "Hello Garci" hullabaloo. Thus, GMA selected a harmless Noli "Kabayan” de Castro.

PNoy and Jojo Binay were not of the same party, but since "Rambotito” Jejomar was a Cory loyalist, the two tolerated each other with some grain of salt but with decent civility. But president Digong and vice president Leni are like fire and water, or water and oil. They simply cannot jell together. Leni is LP and Manong Mayor Rody is PDP. Now, my proposal is to adopt the American system for both president and vice president as a package deal. And we can apply this system to the governor and vice governor, and the mayor and vice mayor. That way, Governor Gwen and Vice Governor Junjun Davide would have better teamwork. Just like Mayor Edgar and Vice Mayor Mike. But are they really okay? Just asking.

I may whisper to Speaker Lord Alan Jay Velasco that this idea may turn out appropriate for our country and people. We need a team to execute laws and implement government policies. We are sick and tired of seeing the top two officials, being paid with our taxes and they bicker on official time and get paid for just hitting each other. I hope my former student, the speaker, will see the light.

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