MANILA - The Philippines is not ready for federalism, according to former Supreme Court Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza.
Mendoza said during the continuation of the Senate hearing on charter change that pushing for a federal type of government would fragment the country.
"A shift to federalism will weaken our republic, fragment our nation, and render the many years we spent to attain national unity. This country will be fragmented and there will be attempts at secession," Mendoza said.
He believes that now is not a "constitutional moment" since there's too much partisan strife that prevents a national consensus from building up or developing.
Instead, Mendoza proposed certain amendments to the Constitution and suggested greater decentralization instead.
"I would say stop at decentralization because beyond that is a cliff to which we might fall and never be able to come back. Federalism will fragment this country and the failure of this experiment will be long lasting," he pointed out.
He also called on lawmakers to ban political dynasties, adding that the danger of local tyrants and dictators is more probable in a federal system.
Under the 1987 Constitution, Congress was supposed to pass an anti-dynasty law but it has yet to pass this legislation.
"Patronage politics practiced everywhere. We want to break up dynasties, we cannot seem to have the political will to do so. How much more if you break up this country into more or less autonomous units, each one to be ruled by a village tyrant," he said.