Federalism shift should have provisions vs political dynasties: Nene Pimentel


Posted at Dec 16 2017 12:06 AM

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MANILA—A new constitution for when the country shifts to a federal form of government should include provisions that would ban political dynasties, former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said Friday.

Pimentel, who authored the Local Government Code and one of the early leaders of President Rodrigo Duterte's political party, PDP-Laban, said the new provisions should "spell out" the prohibition.

"As of today, the ban is worded in this manner: political dynasties, according to the Constitution, is prohibited in accordance with law. But who is going to pass the law if the political warlords are in control?" Pimentel told ANC's "Early Edition."

"Let us take the power out of Congress and begin to speak about it in terms of revising the Constitution, which is done by the people." 

Ongoing efforts in Congress by Duterte’s allies seek to shift the country’s form of government to a federal one, where powers once exclusively held by the national government would be devolved to states. 

The president, however, recently said the “problem is I think the Filipinos are not yet ready for a federal type (of government). It doesn’t seem to ring a bell in the Visayas and Mindanao.”

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said he wants to speed up discussions on the proposal to shift the system of government through a constituent assembly and that he would propose to the Senate that Congress convene as early as January 2018 to discuss charter change.

Pimentel, who filed a Senate bill for a federalism shift in 2008, said anxieties over the partiality of having a constituent assembly as the mode to revise the constitution will come to pass "only if people will be passive" about it.

"If they insist on being heard by the political establishment, then very likely, the politicians will listen to what is being said especially if the sentiments are expressed not just by one or two people but by groups," he said.