DILG spox: critics of Federalism see Monsters when there is none

DILG spox: critics of Federalism see Monsters when there is none

The hearing on the proposed charter change in Senate continues.

Former members of the 1986 Constitutional Commission and law experts were invited to shed light on the matter of changing the existing form of government from its present form to a federal system.

Lawyer Christian Monsod, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, has made his stand that he is not against federalism per se but suggested that it is better to further strenghten the regions to form a union before shifting to the federal form of government.    *
President Duterte (photo credit to owner)

While the suggestion of Monsod is quite subtle, other experts does not share the same opinion. A few weeks ago for Supreme Court Justice Hilario Davide , also a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission categorically stated that the 1987 Constitution is the ‘best in the world’ and gave a warning to the Senate that  shifting to Federalism ia a “lethal experiment” as it will not suit the Philippines and the “people of our generation and even those of the succeeding generations.”

“My position is: A shift to federalism is a lethal experiment, a fatal leap, a plunge to death, a leap to hell,” he told senators on the committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes .


“If the shift to federalism were to deal with the imbalance created by an “Imperial Manila,” then this could be done by “effectively and efficiently implementing the relevant provisions” of the present Constitution “for strong local autonomy and decentralization.” Davide said.

Just recently, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza added a negative opinion regarding the proposed shift to Federalism.

"A shift to a federal system will weaken our republic, fragment our nation and render at moot the many years we have spent to attain national unity. This country will be fragmented by such an attempt and there will be attempts at cessation," Mendoza said.   *

He further adds: "We know that patronage politics practice everywhere. We want to break up dynasties we cannot seem to end... How much more if you break up this country into more or less autonomous units, each one to be ruled by a village tyrant?" he said.

Mendoza, offered the solution of just Decentralizing the government instead of pursuing federalism.

"We have not reached the end of the road, we have not reached the dead end so we have not reached the bottom so let us try decentralization instead of federalizing and dividing the country," he said.

DILG weighs in

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya was also invited to the senate hearing and there he lambasted those critics of federalism for their dark and gloomy description of the change that has made the public fear such move by the government. He also states that it is seemed these critics have made it appear that federalism was a foreign concept very difficult to understand because it is “new.”

“I think, I’m afraid that the critics of federalism are seeing monsters when there are none. They are using the specter of fear since federalism is a totally new concept and since a totally new concept is not easily understood, they are propagating a lot of fear among our people questioning even the motives of those who are proposing a federal system of government,” Malaya told the Senate panel.  *

Jonathan Malaya, is also Executive Director of the ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the party of President Rodrigo Duterte, said that in the proposed shift to federalism it did not state that the president will serve beyond his term.

“Nothing in the PDP Laban model states that the incumbent president, President Rodrigo Duterte, will serve continuously until the 10, 12 or 15 year transition period. There is nothing in this model, because we were the ones who prepared it, that will give a president a limited time in office,” Malaya said.

Malaya, also clarified the issue regarding the elected local government officials, that in the proposed shift there is no provision that they will continue to hold into their office, they need to be elected. “Nothing in the PDP-Laban model states that the local officials will continue to serve as members of the regional commission in the transitory period without being elected to those positions. All those governors or mayors who will form the regional commission during the transition period will have to be elected to their specific positions. And once their term ends, they will have to be elected again,” Malaya said.

“Serving in a regional commission does not mean that they have unlimited stay in their positions. Whatever is the term of office, they will have to respect,” he added. *

Malaya, on the issue that there is no need for a new Constitution, the proposed shift to federalism will not touch anything from the bill of rights, citizenship, and suffrage,” provisions of the Constitution and will only amend those articles and provisions that would enshrine federalism into the constitution and strengthen public institutions among others.

 Report from PNA

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