What is the PDP-Laban federalism model?

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2018 11:01 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte shares a light moment with officers of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) led by its President and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and PDP-Laban Secretary General and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on the sidelines of the PDP-Lapan 35th Anniversary Celebration at the Philippine International Convention center (PICC) Grounds in Pasay City on March 12, 2017. Albert Alcain, Malacanang Photo

MANILA- With President Rodrigo Duterte's win in the 2016 national elections, ruling political party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan's (PDP-Laban) federalism campaign is now a step closer to becoming reality.

Lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives have begun discussions on proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution to give way to the shift to federalism.

But what is the PDP-Laban federalism model?

Jonathan Malaya, executive director of the PDP-Laban Federalism Institute and assistant secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, said the ruling party is proposing a "semi-presidential federal system".

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Under their model, a president shall be elected by the public to power who in turn, will nominate a prime minister for confirmation of the parliament.

"Since the president as head of state and as the one who garnered the most number of votes, he must have a prime minister he can work with," Malaya told ANC's "Beyond Politics."

Most of the powers of the president under the current form of government will also be transferred to the prime minister, as the former will serve as head of state and shall deal with concerns on foreign affairs and national defense.

The position of vice president under the PDP-Laban model, however, is "optional," Malaya said.

Malaya said their party also wants to retain the bicameral system in the legislative with a Senate and a federal assembly in parliament to maintain a system of checks and balances.

"The upper chamber in a parliament in a federal system is important is because the purpose of the upper house is to represent the regions," he said.

The model also proposes around 11 or 12 regional governments, Malaya said.

In terms of electing members of parliament, Malaya said the party is proposing a mixed electoral system wherein the public can still elect representatives while 40 percent will be allocated for a "proportional representation system," particularly political parties that "stand for something."

"Our proposal is to go back to the real intent of the party-list system-- you vote for the political party, not the sector," he said.

"A shift to a parliamentary system is also a shift in mindsets, in culture," he added.