The biggest irony: 'Imperial Manila' lives on in draft federal charter, says lawyer


Posted at Jul 17 2018 10:09 AM

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MANILA - "Imperial Manila" will still dominate under the federal charter proposed by President Rodrigo Duterte's consultative committee, a political analyst said Tuesday.

Lawyer Tony La Viña, former dean of the Ateneo School of Government, said the draft federal charter still gives a lot of power to the president over the federated regions.

"That for me is the biggest irony in this draft. I actually think 'Imperial Manila' lives on, dominates under this proposed system because we resurrected the presidency and in fact made it even more powerful," he told ANC.

"In this proposed constitution, with all the experience we've had, we now give the president again more power, not only in transition but also beyond transition," he added, noting that this negates the very concept of federalism.

Among the bright spots La Viña saw in the draft federal charter is its stronger bill of rights that now includes socioeconomic and environmental rights, and the rights to health allnd decent housing.

"It's definitely an improvement. A welcome one. I think this is better than the '87 Constitution, better than the '73 Constitution," the lawyer said.

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The remaining question, he said, is whether these provisions will pass Congress, which will still have to discuss the consultative committee's output.

La Viña stressed that he will not endorse federalism if a self-executory anti-dynasty provision would not pass and if charter change will lead to a no-election scenario.