OPINION: No to federalism, says Flash Gordon. Humpty Dumpty agrees!

Buddy Gomez

Posted at Aug 05 2016 03:50 AM

If you are on to political dynasties, warlordism, datuships, caciquism and a return to tribalist rivalries and chauvinism, you would love federalism. And enhanced opportunities for regionalized graft and corruption? Why, with Federalism, happier days are sure to come! What are we Filipinos for?

For starters, federalism is nothing quite like what we are accustomed to. In fact, none of its proponents have any personal and direct experience with the concept. As I see it, there really is nothing wrong with our form of government that needs fixing . It ain’t broke, so why fix? Instead, it is really us. We the people who are mostly just a bunch of whining, belly-aching malcontents in perpetual search of excuses for our lapses and weaknesses. It’s we the people that need change, not the method of governance, stupid!

We are in need of fixing. Badly. So that when we speak of transformation, it ought to mean a paradigm change in the Filipino, our psyche, our attitudes, our national character. When the roof leaks, you do not rebuild the whole house. In a sense, that is what federalism seeks to bring about. Our house is leaking! Unmindful of the more deleterious consequences of the strange replacing the familiar. The devil that we know versus the devil that we do not know.

Think about it. Federalism is like putting lipstick on a pig!


I am getting ahead of my pitch. Let me go into some current nomenclature.

Cha-cha is for Charter change. We have been itching for change with contrived reasons for wanting to. Simply the allure of novelty….something new we have never ever tried before comprises what might end up to be a fatal attraction.

Will it be via Con Con…..that is ‘constitutional convention’ to which we elect supposedly thinking delegates who will assiduously study, deliberate, evaluate, recommend a new governance formulae. Or will it be via “Con Ass”.

Pardon the irresistible intemperance but does that stand for “Congregation of Assholes?” (No. Not at all. That is, not all of them. So, go for a guessing game and start peeling off names.) They call it “constituent assembly” meaning they have an inside game ready to steamroller the future of this beloved country of ours. It is a ‘tayo-tayo’ railroad scenario, meaning insiders only! A motley crowd, really, of unprincipled political acrobats and butterflies !

We must never ever forget that this post-election Congressional super-majority ramming federalism down our throats is a political anomaly. The political party under whose aegis President Duterte ran and won consisted of only three congressional members at the time of his election. He was victorious. But in the wink of an eye, a super-majority materialized with a dummy minority, yet even its total creation. And like Pavlov’s puppies, you can expect that the entire kennel will respond to preordained scripted behavior.
I am not quite ready to entrust the future of my children and grandchildren in the hands of turncoats and opportunists. Would you?

That is why this sordid maneuver of a con-ass deserves a kick in the butt. We must put up a fight for a genuine discourse universally understood by all those who will be affected. Transparency and accountability must begin with those who claim to represent the people. This we must demand and exact. Incremental amendments, yes. Change, NO !


There is no evidence whatsoever that I was a precocious child. I was however highly impressionable and retentive. To this moment, fresh in my mind’s eye, I can still see Flash Gordon in front of a huge black and white screen where Dr. Zarkov’s visage was, the two separated by a vast extraterrestrial distance, and as I recall it, were planning to save Planet Mongo from the evil, chinky-eyed Emperor Ming who was out to destroy earth and humanity!

What was still science fiction of my early youth is now today’s vibrant and utilitarian reality. Skype, Facetime, Viber, Tele or Video conferencing, Cyber Communications, infotechnology: all shades of Flash Gordon!

The 21st century now offers us the most effective tool of governance, unavailable heretofore. Why not harness such power first! Flash Gordon information and communications technology for better governance and improved democracy!

Along with an administrative and philosophical amalgam that must consist of: an effective Freedom of Information regime; an invigorated Bangsamoro Basic Law (which the President promises to deliver); a more effective Devolution, Decentralization and strategic Dispersal and relocation of national (not federal) instrumentalities, Cabinet departments and military camps; and the passage of political party reform law, the country does not need to “change horses midstream,” without even trying unutilized available saddlery and equipage of governance!

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This is of course just one man’s opinion. Our present constitution is not perfect. But it does not require drastic change. A well- programmed incremental and strategic tweaks (amendments) here and there will in fact suffice. One such example, for starters, is the constitutional infirmity with reference to job and wealth creation via foreign investments. This, in fact, has a direct bearing in and a fairer chance at an attempt to conquer poverty.


Let us be clear about this. Federalism will not conquer poverty. It will not eradicate Duterte’s drug problems. Federalism does not and will not guarantee economic progress and a better life for the masses. For its proponents, it simply means being heavier on political ego than any other consideration of altruism and selflessness!

It has taken near five centuries for our beloved country to have achieved cohesive union as one archipelagic nation out of immense diversity--nurtured and maintained under Spain and America during the first four hundred years--which federalism will now have the opportunity to emasculate.

What Filipinized federalism will deliver is enhanced and more widespread political dynasties, warlordism, regionalized graft and corruption and resurgent tribalism already tamed and subsumed successfully as we achieved statehood as the ultimate benefit of nationhood.

Under federalism, the peril of a Philippines cracking up and falling apart becomes more imminent. Should the Philippines fall, no power on earth can ever make us whole again! The fate of Humpty Dumpty awaits the motherland.

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.”                   

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.