Egalitarian | We will win

With the question of how we change the constitution, the public is saddled with the option of having no election to give way for the charter change to implement federalism, or to delay the implementation of federalism by facilitating first the midterm elections this 2019, then comes the discussion on federalism of the new set of Congress after.

Again, the people are made to think that options are very limited. The 1987 Constitution provides the mode to change the constitution: Constitutional Assembly, Constitutional Convention, and the People’s Initiative.

In the Constitutional Assembly or fondly referred to as the ConAss, the members of the Congress upon a three-fourths vote of all its members can change the constitution. There are two basic stumbling stones here.

First, midterm elections will undoubtedly hamper the accelerated pace of federalism. Second, the three-fourths vote requirement will likely mean requirement of three-fourths in the House of Representatives and three-fourths in the Senate. We can rest our hopes at the current landscape of the House of Representatives, but not with the Senate.

This will mean a gridlock, and anything of this sort is a sure party that the opposition wants to maximize. Chaos would mean opportunities for them, federalism cannot be delayed. Economically speaking, speculators will benefit from the earnings in the exchange rate, the stock market. Chaos favors the rich at the expense of the poor.

The second mode is the Constitutional Convention. Some pundits ascribe the ConCon as expensive and tedious for its disadvantage, but mostly effective when talking about its advantage. The basis of the forewarnings of being costly and tedious is on the impression that selecting experts and constitutionalists who are all patriots and look beyond their active years are few and hardly found. However, to my surprise during the July 14 National Dialogue on Federalism here in Davao City, Visayas and Mindanao are very much ready for federalism. There are already proposals, counting to 10 already produced by various groups of lawyers, technocrats, academicians, politicians who all envisioned decentralization of development from the NCR, and diffusion of wealth away from the hands of the one percent who controls the 90% wealth of the country.

The People’s Initiative may also come as a window of opportunity. Direct engagement of the public through their barangay officials may come as the participation of the people. And honestly, this is what is called the revolutionary government movement. The revgov is nothing but a direct participation of the public.

If the whole 42,000 barangay councils in the Philippines will issue a resolution calling for the shift to the federal republic by giving the President the power to call for the Constitutional Convention and appoint delegates to the convention, then this comes as the most democratic way. This is the formula proposed by Chito Gavino III and Atty. Aris Albay to make sure that federalism is implemented within the term of the President.

It is also not coming as a cause for concern over the size and representation of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention. The President may appoint 30 to 50 women within 30 days but no more than 60 days, as the pundits on law and constitution led by Atty. Michael Mastura define.

To be consistent with the proposal of the Consultative Committee and other federalist groups, the President may appoint three delegates from the pre-identified 18 regions, plus delegates from Palawan. Since there is the need to respect the cultural structure within the Bangsamoro, it may have nine delegates representing Maranao, Maguindanao, and Sulu. Then the Indigenous People three delegates need be included also.

Therefore, we are looking at 73 to 76 delegates composing the brightest minds and experienced foresight and unwavering commitment to federalizing the country as PRRD wants it to be. This number is manageable; these people are readily available.

One can just imagine the size of the membership of the Kilos sa Pederal sa Pagbabago, the 2005 ConCom members, the Consultative Committee themselves, Centrist Democrats, PDP, the All Moro Convention, Citizen’s Movement of Federal Philippines, the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, Lihuk Pideral Dabaw, and other groups, the People’s Agenda which crafted the People’s Draft, and the list continues.

The scenario of no-election due to federal is nothing but just smokescreen to create confusion, but no, the people are certain of what we want as a country. A better country governed effectively within the federal framework. We can win this, the way Senator Pacquiao brought his opponent to his knees. We can win! We will win!

Posted in Opinion