What if Enrile were Philippine President?

By Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jun 01 2012 02:24 AM | Updated as of Jun 01 2012 09:33 PM

Philippines needs charter change, Enrile says

MANILA, Philippines - If Senate President Juan Ponce became the nation's Chief Executive, what would he do?

He will do a lot, and he will start by changing the Constitution.

The Philippines has to change its Constitution to advance as a nation, Enrile told ANC's "Tamano Perspective" on Thursday.

He told lawyer Adel Tamano that the 1987 Constitution's biggest weakness and the country's stumbling blocs to progress are the Charter's economic provisions.

"I would have started by recasting the Constitution," he told lawyer Adel Tamano, who asked what Enrile would have done if he became the country's president.

"In my humble opinion, to really reform the country, you have to start with the Constitution. Redo it. It's not a sacred document that cannot be changed. lt's the product of human mind and human effort," he said.

Any change in the Constitution should focus on its provisions that stifle the economy, he added.

"I would remove the restrictions about investment and leave that to Congress to handle as we go along, instead of embedding that in the Constitution," he said.

He cited the nationality requirement in the Constitution that bars foreigners from having a majority stake in businesses, as well as owning land in the country.

"Who wants to invest his money and be controlled by a majority and your voice is the minority?" Enrile asked.

"In the case of industries, Filipinization is good for the Filipino entrepreneurs but not good for the Filipino hoi polloi -- the mass of people that depend upon their work, their muscle, their brains in order to feed, educate, give financial security to their children and their families," he said.

Stronger military

He also believes that the country needs a stronger military to secure the country.

"Maybe I will strengthen the military capability of the country," he said, citing the current territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal.

He also believes that economic development and activity and should not be focused on Metro Manila alone.

"Do not concentrate economic development around Manila. Develop the periphery," he said.

Parliamentary form of government

Enrile said if he became president, he would have pushed for a parliamentary form of government.

"If you have a good Prime Minister, he can continue like in Malaysia for 10, 20, 30 years," he said. "If you have a bad Prime Minister, it's easy Parliament to get rid of him and get a better one."

"In the case of a president, you elect actually a king for 6 years. Sometimes you get a good king or a bad king," Enrile said, who rose to national prominence during the impeachment trial of now former Chief Justice Renato Corona.

An uprising, an impeachment

Enrile, who has expressed support for Vice-President Jejomar Binay's planned Presidential run in 2016, said the Corona trial and the 1986 EDSA Revolution are the best moments in his life.

"If I were to select the high point of my service to the country, I'd point first to what happened in 1986," he said.

Enrile, a former protege of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, earlier told ANC Headstart that he does not think about what he wants to be remembered about as part of the nation's history.

"Let the people (decide). We play roles in this life, roles that we do not relish and do not expect. I think that there is a strong power moving in this world that really directs events for each one of us to play a part. Given that notion, I would leave it to the people to judge me because different people have different impressions about you, about me, about others so let it be," he said.

"I'm an avid reader of history.  And I believe that man must play a role in life. There are ups and downs- you take these. I never got bothered by the opinion of others. I know myself. I know what I've done," Enrile said.