Duterte needs to be forceful for Senate to support federalism, Pimentel says
President Rodrigo Duterte needs to be forceful in order for his allies in Congress, particularly in the Senate, to "toe the line" in approving the proposal to shift to a federal form of government, a member of the Palace-created consultative committee said on Monday.
Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said ultimately it is in the hand of the President on whether the constitutional change that would pave the way for a federal government to push through.
"Many of his people are in the Congress, also in the Senate. Even if the Senate appears to be independent, if the President begins to act forcefully, I am sure they will toe the line," Pimentel said in a forum in Manila.
While a majority of the members of the House of Representatives were supportive of the Charter change, many senators, on the other hand, have expressed reservation over the proposal.
The 22-man Concom has drafted a new constitution, which provides for the shift to a federal form of government from unitary.
Malacanang has submitted the draft to Congress for its action.
According to Julio Teehankee, former liberal arts dean of the De La Salle University and member of Concom, it is important to make federalism, including the ban on the political dynasties, as an issue in the May 2019 elections.
Through this, people could choose the right candidates, he said.
But Teehankee admitted there was no sure guarantee that the proposal of the Concom, particularly on the "self-executing" provision against the political dynasty, would be approved by the constituent assembly, which will sit as the body to change the 1987 Constitution.
"Other than that, there's no sure guarantee. But if we put it, campaign for that, at the end of the day, it's the people who will decide," he said.
Under the draft new constitution, the Concom proposed the imposition of regulated ban on political dynasties.
Under the draft, a political dynasty exists when a family whose members are related up to the second degree of consanguinity or affinity whether such relations are legitimate, illegitimate, half or full blood, maintains or is capable of maintaining political control by succession or by simultaneously running for or holding elective positions.
Under the 1987 Constitution, even if there is a provision against the political dynasty, it requires a passage of law before it could be implemented. Up to now, there is no law that bans political dynasty in the country as many members of Congress apparently belong to such. Celerina Monte/DMS