Centrist Democracy Political Institute - Items filtered by date: January 2018
Friday, 26 January 2018 11:04

Duterte names 19 Charter reviewers

President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed the members to the consultative committee to review the 1987 Constitution.

Duterte signed on January 24 the appointment of 19 individuals as members of the committee with the former chief justice Reynato Puno as chairman.

Former Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. was also part of the committee.

The other members are the following:

-Victor De la Serna

-Ranhilio Aquino

-Virgilio Bautista

-Rodolfo Robles

-Antonio Nachura

-Julio Tehankee

-Bienvenido Reyes

-Eddie Alih

-Edmund Tayao

-Ali Pangalian Balindong

-Laurence Wacnang

-Roan Libarios

-Reuben Canoy

-Arthur Aguilar

-Susan Ubalde-Ordinario

-Antonio Arellano

-Randolph Parcasio

Published in News
Friday, 26 January 2018 09:48

Is federalism dead?

IF we gauge by the coverage of major dailies these days, the debate on federalism is nowhere, at least not where it should be. Of late, the major focus has been on the spat between two co-equal institutions, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The former threatening to boycott the constituent assembly (Con-ass) if voting is not done separately; the latter going ahead with Con-ass, with or without the Senate’s participation.

Speaker Alvarez wants to rush the revisions to the 1987 Constitution for a plebiscite in early May 2018 (in five months) simultaneous with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections and a shift to a federal system by 2019. There is even a proposal to postpone midterm-elections next year and allow a 10-year extension of the terms of elected officials, including the President’s, for a transition to federalism.

These scenarios could spell the death of Charter revisions and federalism in the country, as happened in the past. The first attempt to revise the 1987 Constitution by FVR in 1997 through the People’s Initiative for Reform, Modernization and Action (Pirma) failed because people suspected Ramos of wanting to extend his term.

President Erap’s pathetic attempt in 1999 through his Constitutional Correction for Development (Concord) to amend the Constitution to lift restrictions on foreign ownership of businesses did not even gain traction before he was booted out. During the GMA administration, a 50-man Consultative Commission (2005 ConCom) was created to propose constitutional revisions to effect a shift to a federal/parliamentary system, much like what PRRD is doing today. This too was aborted principally on the issue of the abolition of the Senate. All these past failures are merely alibis perpetrated by the main opponents of Charter change and federalism: the oligarchy and the traditional politicians out to maintain the status quo.

President Duterte’s election campaign with federalism as one of the major flagship programs, was attractive to the electorate. The intricacies of federalism as a system was not much understood but the slogan capturing the idea of freedom from the clutches of “Imperial Manila” struck the right chord. Although its impetus was the demand for the Mindanawnons to extricate themselves from the political and economic dominance by the center, this is also true for the Visayans, the Bicolanos and even the Tagalogs; provinces, islands and areas in the periphery of the epicenter of the political universe – Metro Manila.

What has been left out in the debate today is the more important issues of how federalism can bring about a better life for the citizenry. In short, what’s in it for them! This column will not go into the specifics of the issues. Please refer to my Manila Times articles (October 27 and November 3, 2016 on “Social market economy”).

What is urgently needed now is the full attention of DU30 to set up the 25-man Consultative Commission (ConCom) that will help guide him on a clear path toward federalism. This band of experts will provide the president the arguments he needs to steer the debate towards the advantages of a shift from the unitary system we have now to a federal-parliamentary government. But more importantly, the bureaucracy needs to be harnessed to elucidate and educate the citizenry on how this new paradigm can advance social justice, alleviate poverty and hunger; eliminate corruption; and make their lives better. This should be the core of the citizens’ education and debate and the Deegong has to reset the mode for the political conversation.

At the same time, he needs to reconcile the steps leading towards federalism, either through a “simple parliamentary unicameral form” (CDP position) or through a so called “semi-presidential or hybrid-parliamentary bicameral system” (PDP Laban).”Even his own party is ambivalent on the role of the future Senate. Sen. Koko Pimentel, PDP Laban president naturally wants the retention of the Senate, although regionally elected; Speaker Alvarez, PDP Laban secretary-general opts for a unicameral body, similar to CDP’s position. The President can’t afford discordant voices in his own political party and among his allies.

The outcome from the 25-man ConCom should be the position of DU30 and presented to the constituencies in palatable dishes. It would be dangerous and self-serving to allow exclusive input by the two houses of Congress in a Con-ass. Let’s learn from the lesson of the “anti-dynasty” 1987 constitutional provision that couldn’t pass muster, since 1987.

The Senate and House can disregard the Constituent Assembly mode (Con-ass) and pass a law for a constitutional convention (Con-con) with a twist. Allow both elective and DU30 appointees to sit in as delegates to revise the 1987 Constitution. The argument for this is simple: those running for Con-con delegates would be mostly politicians and relatives out to carve out or defend their own political turf. Allow a percentage of presidential appointed experts to the mix. The Con-con can thus be created simultaneous with the barangay elections in May 2018. They have a year within which to revise the Constitution; and by May of 2019, call for a plebiscite simultaneous with the mid-term elections in May 2019. Those elected will hold office only for a year up to May 2020, when the first parliament is elected and subsequently constituted (or a transitory provision can be written into the new constitution defining the role of those elected in 2019; please refer to my column of Jan 18, 2018, “The Centrist proposals”).

Published in LML Polettiques
LAST May 11, 2017, we published an article on the “Centrist Democratic Party (CDP) Roadmap to Federalism” in three steps. The first step is to put in place essential conditions while in the process of revising the 1987 Constitution; the second step is the immediate transition to parliamentary government after the plebiscite; and the third step is the creation of autonomous territories towards the formation of federal states comprising the Federal Philippine Republic. (Please refer to the Manila Times, May 11, 2017, or access www.cdpi.asia.)

Last week, Rufus Rodriguez, the president of the Centrist Democratic Party (CDP) submitted to 292 congressmen, 23 senators, the members of the Supreme Court, President DU30 and Vice President Robredo and the members of Cabinet the booklet, The Constitution of the Federal Republic of the Philippines. The Centrist Proposal for the Revision of the 1987 Constitution. (Limited copies are available on request.)

This column will summarize the salient points of our Centrist proposals to enlighten the citizenry on the ongoing debate on major positions currently being deliberated by the committee on constitutional amendments in Congress, one of which is the PDP-Laban point of view.
 
The PDP-Laban position
PDP-Laban supports a federal system where powers are shared between the federal government and regional governments (states); with a bicameral legislative body, senate (the upper house) elected by regions and congress (lower house) elected by legislative districts. The President is head of state and universally elected and the vice president an optional position or, if retained, both will be elected together as one, under the same political party.
 
PDP Laban calls this “a semi-presidential system or a hybrid parliamentary system…uniquely Filipino adopting the advantages of a parliamentary system while at the same time respecting the Filipinos’ preference for a strong President at the helm”.
 
PDP Laban’s ambivalence for the changes in the legislative branch, however, is reflected in their formula: “if unitary, then parliamentary; if federal, then bicameral.” The PDP-Laban reflects DU30’s personality and his desire for a “strong French model.”
 
Details of the proposals are contained in the PDP-Laban Federalism Model, by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, available at the PDP Laban Federalism Institute.
 
The Centrist proposals
The Centrist proposals (CDPI, CDP, Lakas, 2004 ConCom and CDA) calls for a shift to a parliamentary-federal system, with a unicameral body, with the president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government, both elected from among the members of parliament.
 
The parliament is constituted first and oversees the creation of autonomous territories toward the establishment of federal states.
 
Shift to parliamentary govt
1st stage: now up to February/May 2019 plebiscite and mid-term elections
 
A. Con-Ass will start revising the 1987 Constitution targeting February/May 2019 plebiscite coinciding with mid-term elections
 
B. Officials elected mid-term will only hold office until first parliamentary elections in May 2020 (one-year term). Transitory provisions in the new constitution will provide for this.
 
2nd stage: May 2020-2025
 
A. First unicameral parliamentary elections under the new federal constitution with five-year term.
 
B. Incumbent DU30 shall continue his dual role as head of state and head of government (prime minister)
 
3rd stage: May 2022 (DU30’s term ends under the 1987 Constitution)
 
A. By May 2022, DU30 steps down as head of state and a new president is elected by parliament to serve his remaining term, or
 
B. DU30 ends his term by 2025 (provided for in the transitory provisions)
 
4th stage: May 2025-2030
 
A. 2nd regular parliamentary elections with five-year term. By 2030, we have new president and new prime minister, both elected by the unicameral parliament.
 
Creation of autonomous territories
 
1st stage: February/May 2019 plebiscite and mid-term elections
 
A. Upon ratification of new constitution, a body/commission is created to oversee negotiations, setting parameters for creation of autonomous territories.
 
B. The Bangsamoro will be constituted ahead based on BBL enacted by Congress previous to the plebiscite.
 
C. Parliament can enact under the new constitutions the Organic Act of the Bangsamoro and other autonomous territories that are advanced in their negotiations and agreements.
 
2nd stage: May 2020-2025
 
A. Parliament shall guide and allow evolution of the provinces and highly urbanized cities from what they are today into autonomous territories (eventually a federal state) based on several criteria (details in the booklet).
 
B. Results of these negotiations shall be incorporated in an organic law by parliament within a year of a petition to be subsequently approved by the constituents of the newly formed autonomous territory in a referendum.
 
C. Some provinces and cities will be ahead of the pack and some will be laggards therefore the development of a federal republic will not be uniform.
 
D. If 60 percent of the autonomous territories are established with their organic acts, then the Federal Republic of the Philippines is created. By our reckoning, this will happen between 2025 and 2028.
 
This roadmap to federalism is thus designed to mitigate the shock to the body politic arising from the purging of traditional political practices, first, through the immediate passage of reform laws, now pending in Congress. Furthermore, the critical process of transition to a parliamentary-federal republic has to be in place in the revised constitution so the assurance of its continuity is safeguarded by the constitution itself even beyond the term of the current president. To reiterate, the Centrist roadmap simply adapts to the exigencies of real change or “tunay na pagbabago,” the rallying slogan of the Deegong, accelerating change where feasible without unnecessarily upsetting institutions and government services.
 
Federalism is indeed a complex process and may take several years before the country can fully implement it. The idea of Federalism in the country has yet to go through the crucible of debate and experimentation; as any worthwhile idea must. Not until the advent of DU30 has the concepts gone mainstream. But no single model dominates as one would wish for if the idea is to be translated into workable provisions in the revised constitution. A new and serious group, ConForm-Federal Philippines, initiated by DU30 Federalists and private-sector led, could be on the right track. It is gearing itself up for a massive education through the creation of a Speakers’ Bureau to go all over the country, precipitate debate and gather adherents. Such groups could be the last legitimate attempt at a massive move to break the hold of the oligarchy and the ruling class and their allies on the lifeblood of the country. The alternative, which the desperate have been egging DU30 on is revolutionary government. And this could be deadly for all!
Published in LML Polettiques

Click the link below to read the full book of

"The Constitution of the Federal Republic of the Philippines - The Centrist Proposal for the Revision of the 1987 Constitution"

http://en.calameo.com/read/00544428302022d0022c3?authid=CsQqVWnIuyB8

Published in LML Polettiques
Monday, 15 January 2018 18:14

Con-ass: 2018’s biggest legal showdown

Our fate hinges on a typo.

In 2017, once obscure doctrines such as martial law and writ of

amparo took centerstage. The year 2018 welcomes the never before invoked provision to change the Constitution.

Under Article XVII, Section 1, revision of the Constitution “may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A constitutional convention.”

Proposed revisions must be ratified in a plebiscite. This may be simultaneous with elections, such as the May 2018 barangay elections.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are about to pass resolutions to convert Congress into a constituent assembly or Con-ass under Option 1. They argue that using Congress is cheaper and quicker than electing a constitutional convention.

But Article XVII, Section 1(1) has an obvious typo: What does “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” mean?

Senators strenuously insist that Con-ass revisions must be approved by both a three-fourths Senate vote and a separate three-fourths House vote.

They argue the Constitution provides for two separate houses. The bicameral structure would become meaningless if 23 senators’ votes are dwarfed in a joint vote with 297 congressmen.
This is surely not the intention for such an important vote, argues the constitutional law textbook of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, an eminent 1986 constitutional commissioner. So do many legal scholars.

One further argues that if the Constitution intended the senators’ votes to be diluted, it would specifically say so.

It does so in Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. Here, a martial law proclamation is revoked by: “The Congress, voting jointly.”

This specific wording was intentional. In a crisis, there might be no time to resolve a split Senate and House vote on martial law. But otherwise, a separate vote is presumed.

Finally, many scholars posit a glaring typo. Congress was initially intended to be unicameral, per the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations. When it was made bicameral, they simply forgot to revise Article XVII, Section 1(1).

But congressmen could interpret “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” as a joint vote of all congressmen and senators combined. Article XVII, Section 1(1) does not specify a separate vote and simply refers to “all its Members.”

They would cite Article X, Section 1 of the 1935 Constitution, which instead required “a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately.” If the 1987 Constitution used a different language, it must have a different meaning.

Finally, they would cite the legal doctrine that the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations are not binding interpretations. Citizens ratified the text of the Constitution as they read it, not as deliberated by the Commission.

Thus, the wording of a single legal phrase is crucial. The course of our nation hinges on a typo.
A similar debate emerged on Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. A group opposing martial law in May 2017 claimed this could not continue unless Congress first met in joint session.
This was problematic because Article VII, Section 18’s text only required a joint session vote to revoke — not to approve — martial law, and both the House and the Senate expressed they would not revoke it.

It would strain separation of powers for the Supreme Court to order Congress to perform an act not explicitly stated in the Constitution, and which would likely result in a joint vote approving martial law, anyway.

Nevertheless, those against martial law fanatically endorsed the theory, even lawyers.
Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court dismissed this 13-2. Even Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio voted to dismiss, despite voting against martial law in all of Mindanao in the main martial law case.

Proponents on both sides of the Con-ass debate must remember this defeated case on the joint session. For 2018’s biggest legal showdown, they had best prepare real law instead of citing politics, emotional appeals and propaganda yet again.

Published in News
Monday, 15 January 2018 18:14

Con-ass: 2018’s biggest legal showdown

Our fate hinges on a typo.

In 2017, once obscure doctrines such as martial law and writ of

amparo took centerstage. The year 2018 welcomes the never before invoked provision to change the Constitution.

Under Article XVII, Section 1, revision of the Constitution “may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A constitutional convention.”

Proposed revisions must be ratified in a plebiscite. This may be simultaneous with elections, such as the May 2018 barangay elections.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are about to pass resolutions to convert Congress into a constituent assembly or Con-ass under Option 1. They argue that using Congress is cheaper and quicker than electing a constitutional convention.

But Article XVII, Section 1(1) has an obvious typo: What does “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” mean?

Senators strenuously insist that Con-ass revisions must be approved by both a three-fourths Senate vote and a separate three-fourths House vote.

They argue the Constitution provides for two separate houses. The bicameral structure would become meaningless if 23 senators’ votes are dwarfed in a joint vote with 297 congressmen.
This is surely not the intention for such an important vote, argues the constitutional law textbook of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, an eminent 1986 constitutional commissioner. So do many legal scholars.

One further argues that if the Constitution intended the senators’ votes to be diluted, it would specifically say so.

It does so in Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. Here, a martial law proclamation is revoked by: “The Congress, voting jointly.”

This specific wording was intentional. In a crisis, there might be no time to resolve a split Senate and House vote on martial law. But otherwise, a separate vote is presumed.

Finally, many scholars posit a glaring typo. Congress was initially intended to be unicameral, per the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations. When it was made bicameral, they simply forgot to revise Article XVII, Section 1(1).

But congressmen could interpret “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” as a joint vote of all congressmen and senators combined. Article XVII, Section 1(1) does not specify a separate vote and simply refers to “all its Members.”

They would cite Article X, Section 1 of the 1935 Constitution, which instead required “a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately.” If the 1987 Constitution used a different language, it must have a different meaning.

Finally, they would cite the legal doctrine that the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations are not binding interpretations. Citizens ratified the text of the Constitution as they read it, not as deliberated by the Commission.

Thus, the wording of a single legal phrase is crucial. The course of our nation hinges on a typo.
A similar debate emerged on Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. A group opposing martial law in May 2017 claimed this could not continue unless Congress first met in joint session.
This was problematic because Article VII, Section 18’s text only required a joint session vote to revoke — not to approve — martial law, and both the House and the Senate expressed they would not revoke it.

It would strain separation of powers for the Supreme Court to order Congress to perform an act not explicitly stated in the Constitution, and which would likely result in a joint vote approving martial law, anyway.

Nevertheless, those against martial law fanatically endorsed the theory, even lawyers.
Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court dismissed this 13-2. Even Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio voted to dismiss, despite voting against martial law in all of Mindanao in the main martial law case.

Proponents on both sides of the Con-ass debate must remember this defeated case on the joint session. For 2018’s biggest legal showdown, they had best prepare real law instead of citing politics, emotional appeals and propaganda yet again.

Published in News
Monday, 15 January 2018 18:14

Con-ass: 2018’s biggest legal showdown

Our fate hinges on a typo.

In 2017, once obscure doctrines such as martial law and writ of

amparo took centerstage. The year 2018 welcomes the never before invoked provision to change the Constitution.

Under Article XVII, Section 1, revision of the Constitution “may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A constitutional convention.”

Proposed revisions must be ratified in a plebiscite. This may be simultaneous with elections, such as the May 2018 barangay elections.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are about to pass resolutions to convert Congress into a constituent assembly or Con-ass under Option 1. They argue that using Congress is cheaper and quicker than electing a constitutional convention.

But Article XVII, Section 1(1) has an obvious typo: What does “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” mean?

Senators strenuously insist that Con-ass revisions must be approved by both a three-fourths Senate vote and a separate three-fourths House vote.

They argue the Constitution provides for two separate houses. The bicameral structure would become meaningless if 23 senators’ votes are dwarfed in a joint vote with 297 congressmen.
This is surely not the intention for such an important vote, argues the constitutional law textbook of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, an eminent 1986 constitutional commissioner. So do many legal scholars.

One further argues that if the Constitution intended the senators’ votes to be diluted, it would specifically say so.

It does so in Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. Here, a martial law proclamation is revoked by: “The Congress, voting jointly.”

This specific wording was intentional. In a crisis, there might be no time to resolve a split Senate and House vote on martial law. But otherwise, a separate vote is presumed.

Finally, many scholars posit a glaring typo. Congress was initially intended to be unicameral, per the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations. When it was made bicameral, they simply forgot to revise Article XVII, Section 1(1).

But congressmen could interpret “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” as a joint vote of all congressmen and senators combined. Article XVII, Section 1(1) does not specify a separate vote and simply refers to “all its Members.”

They would cite Article X, Section 1 of the 1935 Constitution, which instead required “a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately.” If the 1987 Constitution used a different language, it must have a different meaning.

Finally, they would cite the legal doctrine that the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations are not binding interpretations. Citizens ratified the text of the Constitution as they read it, not as deliberated by the Commission.

Thus, the wording of a single legal phrase is crucial. The course of our nation hinges on a typo.
A similar debate emerged on Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. A group opposing martial law in May 2017 claimed this could not continue unless Congress first met in joint session.
This was problematic because Article VII, Section 18’s text only required a joint session vote to revoke — not to approve — martial law, and both the House and the Senate expressed they would not revoke it.

It would strain separation of powers for the Supreme Court to order Congress to perform an act not explicitly stated in the Constitution, and which would likely result in a joint vote approving martial law, anyway.

Nevertheless, those against martial law fanatically endorsed the theory, even lawyers.
Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court dismissed this 13-2. Even Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio voted to dismiss, despite voting against martial law in all of Mindanao in the main martial law case.

Proponents on both sides of the Con-ass debate must remember this defeated case on the joint session. For 2018’s biggest legal showdown, they had best prepare real law instead of citing politics, emotional appeals and propaganda yet again.

Published in News
Thursday, 11 January 2018 17:51

The Don is dead; federalism, atbp

“DON Mayo is dead! Long Live Don Mayo!

We are just into the beginning of the new year and two events occurred: one is personal; and the other, institutional. But both related.

Mario Antonio “Mayo” G. Lopez passed away at dawn last Saturday, January 7, 2018. Very fitting indeed as this was the feast day of the “Three Kings,” the official end of the Catholic celebration of the Christmas season. I would like to believe that the three Magi from the past ushered out Mayo, escorting him to the Lord as they did visiting baby Jesus 2,000 years ago. But knowing Mayo, the reality in fact is more sanguine, if not dramatic. He exited this world “…on his own terms and at his own choosing.” What could be more histrionic than that! The bugger didn’t even wait for me to say goodbye. I texted Kuku, his wife, “ang haligi ng kanyang buhay,” for permission to visit him after the holidays as I had to spend Christmas with my grandkids in Davao. She said to visit anytime. I was in the 6:30 a.m. plane to Manila yesterday and reviewed FB postings and bedside photos with Mayo by Raffy Alunan and Babes Flores, our Harvard colleagues. And then this sudden news.
“Kuku, I’m inside the plane to Manila now when I got the news in FB. I was hoping to visit and see Mayo before he leaves us. Now I regret not flying from Davao earlier. I love the guy. I hope he forgives me.”

Her reply:

“Don Lito, he loves you too. And there is nothing to forgive. He knew you were with the family.”
I have this nagging feeling that Don Mayo left centerstage just before I flew in to see him to stress me out and to prove a point that he is in control. What impeccable timing for an exit scene.

“Don Mayo” and “Don Lito” were names we addressed each other. These titles underscore a special but quirky bondharking back to the early 1990s when we organized, along with Willy Villarama, Art Aguilar, Babes Flores and Angelo Reyes, the KSG-Harvard Alumni where they made me president for several years. Don Mayo was purportedly my “consigliere” although he was more a godfather than I. We were “conspirators” in one sense and spent time in idle chatter (whenever I flew in from Davao) concocting humorous scenarios and stories about our Harvard colleagues, with Kuku oftentimes berating us for being “unkind.” But mostly we analyze and critique most everything, especially official acts of government, from the administrations of Fidel, Erap, Gloria to PNoy, where our solution to the problems of the country was simple and elegant—“kill the miscreants.” Don Mayo may be snickering somewhere in the beyond to observe that the Deegong is now actually implementing our original solution.

Which brings me to the other facet of our relationship. I invited him to be a member of the Centrist Democracy Political Institute (CDPI) board of advisors. He was a valued member of the small group of political technocrats that help CDPI process centrist positions on issues of the day. Among those in the board are Pepe Abueva, CJ Puno, Rufus Rodriguez, Francis Manglapus, Ed Tayao, Philip Camara, Mon Casiple, Linda Jimeno, Malou Tiquia, Peter Koeppinger and Benedikt Seemann.

Don Mayo was my go-to guy when we formulate economic provisions some of which are incorporated in the “Centrist Proposal for the Revision of the 1987 Constitution”. We often clash and disagree on certain ideas on political economy but improving in the process overall quality of discussions. These documents are also partly a legacy of Don Mayo.

Towards the end, Kuku would accompany him to our CDPI board of advisors’ dinner-meetings, making this steadfast exemplar companion part of the proceedings. He was becoming weaker but still had his superb sense of humor. And upon meeting we still bow to each other on one bended knee and putting our right hand to each other’s forehead. He first, and I reciprocate; a ritual we last did in June of 2017. We will do this again when we next meet – but not sooner, I hope.

 
The Centrist proposal
The printed version of the centrist proposal in booklet form has just been released, courtesy of the Vibal Group (available upon request). It’s a pity that Don Mayo didn’t get his special copy. This week, Rufus Rodriguez, president of the Centrist Democratic Political Party (CDP) provided copies to each of the members of the House, the 23 members of the Cenate, justices of the Supreme Court and all members of the cabinet and PRRD and VP Robredo. The salient points will be discussed in my column next Thursday. But those serious adherents of federalism should refer to my Manila Times column article (“CDP roadmap to federalism,” May 11, 2017), or access www.cdpi.asia).

This version was presented to the Malacañang Press last September upon the behest of the then presidential spokesman, Secretary Ernie Abella. This was also printed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) for a comparative analysis along with the PDP-Laban and the congressional committee versions. Hopefully, this will be taken up in the 25-man consultative commission of President Duterte, if ever.

Towards the end, Don Mayo and I were still texting about political and economic issues, but they became of lesser and lesser importance. His FB postings were becoming more personal, familiar and warmer with photos of his wife, Kuku, and family. Funny, but in some ways, we never did get to meet each other’s children, only our wives. Several months back, we decided to have dinner at La Cabrera with Kuku and his four sons. We postponed the date twice. His last txt to me was last October: “Don Lito, we’ll find time for our steak and wine dinner when my health improves.”
It never did.

So, Don Mayo, I will have that dinner with Kuku and your four sons after “babang luksa”– period of formal bereavement. Then Kuku, your sons and I will raise our glasses of Malbec, to our health and to your memory.

Salud! Please don’t expect to see me sooner.
Published in LML Polettiques
Thursday, 11 January 2018 17:51

The Don is dead; federalism, atbp

“DON Mayo is dead! Long Live Don Mayo!

We are just into the beginning of the new year and two events occurred: one is personal; and the other, institutional. But both related.

Mario Antonio “Mayo” G. Lopez passed away at dawn last Saturday, January 7, 2018. Very fitting indeed as this was the feast day of the “Three Kings,” the official end of the Catholic celebration of the Christmas season. I would like to believe that the three Magi from the past ushered out Mayo, escorting him to the Lord as they did visiting baby Jesus 2,000 years ago. But knowing Mayo, the reality in fact is more sanguine, if not dramatic. He exited this world “…on his own terms and at his own choosing.” What could be more histrionic than that! The bugger didn’t even wait for me to say goodbye. I texted Kuku, his wife, “ang haligi ng kanyang buhay,” for permission to visit him after the holidays as I had to spend Christmas with my grandkids in Davao. She said to visit anytime. I was in the 6:30 a.m. plane to Manila yesterday and reviewed FB postings and bedside photos with Mayo by Raffy Alunan and Babes Flores, our Harvard colleagues. And then this sudden news.
“Kuku, I’m inside the plane to Manila now when I got the news in FB. I was hoping to visit and see Mayo before he leaves us. Now I regret not flying from Davao earlier. I love the guy. I hope he forgives me.”

Her reply:

“Don Lito, he loves you too. And there is nothing to forgive. He knew you were with the family.”
I have this nagging feeling that Don Mayo left centerstage just before I flew in to see him to stress me out and to prove a point that he is in control. What impeccable timing for an exit scene.

“Don Mayo” and “Don Lito” were names we addressed each other. These titles underscore a special but quirky bondharking back to the early 1990s when we organized, along with Willy Villarama, Art Aguilar, Babes Flores and Angelo Reyes, the KSG-Harvard Alumni where they made me president for several years. Don Mayo was purportedly my “consigliere” although he was more a godfather than I. We were “conspirators” in one sense and spent time in idle chatter (whenever I flew in from Davao) concocting humorous scenarios and stories about our Harvard colleagues, with Kuku oftentimes berating us for being “unkind.” But mostly we analyze and critique most everything, especially official acts of government, from the administrations of Fidel, Erap, Gloria to PNoy, where our solution to the problems of the country was simple and elegant—“kill the miscreants.” Don Mayo may be snickering somewhere in the beyond to observe that the Deegong is now actually implementing our original solution.

Which brings me to the other facet of our relationship. I invited him to be a member of the Centrist Democracy Political Institute (CDPI) board of advisors. He was a valued member of the small group of political technocrats that help CDPI process centrist positions on issues of the day. Among those in the board are Pepe Abueva, CJ Puno, Rufus Rodriguez, Francis Manglapus, Ed Tayao, Philip Camara, Mon Casiple, Linda Jimeno, Malou Tiquia, Peter Koeppinger and Benedikt Seemann.

Don Mayo was my go-to guy when we formulate economic provisions some of which are incorporated in the “Centrist Proposal for the Revision of the 1987 Constitution”. We often clash and disagree on certain ideas on political economy but improving in the process overall quality of discussions. These documents are also partly a legacy of Don Mayo.

Towards the end, Kuku would accompany him to our CDPI board of advisors’ dinner-meetings, making this steadfast exemplar companion part of the proceedings. He was becoming weaker but still had his superb sense of humor. And upon meeting we still bow to each other on one bended knee and putting our right hand to each other’s forehead. He first, and I reciprocate; a ritual we last did in June of 2017. We will do this again when we next meet – but not sooner, I hope.

 
The Centrist proposal
The printed version of the centrist proposal in booklet form has just been released, courtesy of the Vibal Group (available upon request). It’s a pity that Don Mayo didn’t get his special copy. This week, Rufus Rodriguez, president of the Centrist Democratic Political Party (CDP) provided copies to each of the members of the House, the 23 members of the Cenate, justices of the Supreme Court and all members of the cabinet and PRRD and VP Robredo. The salient points will be discussed in my column next Thursday. But those serious adherents of federalism should refer to my Manila Times column article (“CDP roadmap to federalism,” May 11, 2017), or access www.cdpi.asia).

This version was presented to the Malacañang Press last September upon the behest of the then presidential spokesman, Secretary Ernie Abella. This was also printed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) for a comparative analysis along with the PDP-Laban and the congressional committee versions. Hopefully, this will be taken up in the 25-man consultative commission of President Duterte, if ever.

Towards the end, Don Mayo and I were still texting about political and economic issues, but they became of lesser and lesser importance. His FB postings were becoming more personal, familiar and warmer with photos of his wife, Kuku, and family. Funny, but in some ways, we never did get to meet each other’s children, only our wives. Several months back, we decided to have dinner at La Cabrera with Kuku and his four sons. We postponed the date twice. His last txt to me was last October: “Don Lito, we’ll find time for our steak and wine dinner when my health improves.”
It never did.

So, Don Mayo, I will have that dinner with Kuku and your four sons after “babang luksa”– period of formal bereavement. Then Kuku, your sons and I will raise our glasses of Malbec, to our health and to your memory.

Salud! Please don’t expect to see me sooner.
Published in LML Polettiques
Thursday, 11 January 2018 15:51

The Don is dead; federalism, atbp

“DON Mayo is dead! Long Live Don Mayo!

We are just into the beginning of the new year and two events occurred: one is personal; and the other, institutional. But both related.

Mario Antonio “Mayo” G. Lopez passed away at dawn last Saturday, January 7, 2018. Very fitting indeed as this was the feast day of the “Three Kings,” the official end of the Catholic celebration of the Christmas season. I would like to believe that the three Magi from the past ushered out Mayo, escorting him to the Lord as they did visiting baby Jesus 2,000 years ago. But knowing Mayo, the reality in fact is more sanguine, if not dramatic. He exited this world “…on his own terms and at his own choosing.” What could be more histrionic than that! The bugger didn’t even wait for me to say goodbye. I texted Kuku, his wife, “ang haligi ng kanyang buhay,” for permission to visit him after the holidays as I had to spend Christmas with my grandkids in Davao. She said to visit anytime. I was in the 6:30 a.m. plane to Manila yesterday and reviewed FB postings and bedside photos with Mayo by Raffy Alunan and Babes Flores, our Harvard colleagues. And then this sudden news.

“Kuku, I’m inside the plane to Manila now when I got the news in FB. I was hoping to visit and see Mayo before he leaves us. Now I regret not flying from Davao earlier. I love the guy. I hope he forgives me.”

Her reply:

“Don Lito, he loves you too. And there is nothing to forgive. He knew you were with the family.”

I have this nagging feeling that Don Mayo left centerstage just before I flew in to see him to stress me out and to prove a point that he is in control. What impeccable timing for an exit scene.

“Don Mayo” and “Don Lito” were names we addressed each other. These titles underscore a special but quirky bondharking back to the early 1990s when we organized, along with Willy Villarama, Art Aguilar, Babes Flores and Angelo Reyes, the KSG-Harvard Alumni where they made me president for several years. Don Mayo was purportedly my “consigliere” although he was more a godfather than I. We were “conspirators” in one sense and spent time in idle chatter (whenever I flew in from Davao) concocting humorous scenarios and stories about our Harvard colleagues, with Kuku oftentimes berating us for being “unkind.” But mostly we analyze and critique most everything, especially official acts of government, from the administrations of Fidel, Erap, Gloria to PNoy, where our solution to the problems of the country was simple and elegant—“kill the miscreants.” Don Mayo may be snickering somewhere in the beyond to observe that the Deegong is now actually implementing our original solution.

Which brings me to the other facet of our relationship. I invited him to be a member of the Centrist Democracy Political Institute (CDPI) board of advisors. He was a valued member of the small group of political technocrats that help CDPI process centrist positions on issues of the day. Among those in the board are Pepe Abueva, CJ Puno, Rufus Rodriguez, Francis Manglapus, Ed Tayao, Philip Camara, Mon Casiple, Linda Jimeno, Malou Tiquia, Peter Koeppinger and Benedikt Seemann.

Don Mayo was my go-to guy when we formulate economic provisions some of which are incorporated in the “Centrist Proposal for the Revision of the 1987 Constitution”. We often clash and disagree on certain ideas on political economy but improving in the process overall quality of discussions. These documents are also partly a legacy of Don Mayo.

Towards the end, Kuku would accompany him to our CDPI board of advisors’ dinner-meetings, making this steadfast exemplar companion part of the proceedings. He was becoming weaker but still had his superb sense of humor. And upon meeting we still bow to each other on one bended knee and putting our right hand to each other’s forehead. He first, and I reciprocate; a ritual we last did in June of 2017. We will do this again when we next meet – but not sooner, I hope.

The Centrist proposal

The printed version of the centrist proposal in booklet form has just been released, courtesy of the Vibal Group (available upon request). It’s a pity that Don Mayo didn’t get his special copy. This week, Rufus Rodriguez, president of the Centrist Democratic Political Party (CDP) provided copies to each of the members of the House, the 23 members of the Cenate, justices of the Supreme Court and all members of the cabinet and PRRD and VP Robredo. The salient points will be discussed in my column next Thursday. But those serious adherents of federalism should refer to my Manila Times column article (“CDP roadmap to federalism,” May 11, 2017), or access www.cdpi.asia).

This version was presented to the Malacañang Press last September upon the behest of the then presidential spokesman, Secretary Ernie Abella. This was also printed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) for a comparative analysis along with the PDP-Laban and the congressional committee versions. Hopefully, this will be taken up in the 25-man consultative commission of President Duterte, if ever.

Towards the end, Don Mayo and I were still texting about political and economic issues, but they became of lesser and lesser importance. His FB postings were becoming more personal, familiar and warmer with photos of his wife, Kuku, and family. Funny, but in some ways, we never did get to meet each other’s children, only our wives. Several months back, we decided to have dinner at La Cabrera with Kuku and his four sons. We postponed the date twice. His last txt to me was last October: “Don Lito, we’ll find time for our steak and wine dinner when my health improves.”

It never did.

So, Don Mayo, I will have that dinner with Kuku and your four sons after “babang luksa”– period of formal bereavement. Then Kuku, your sons and I will raise our glasses of Malbec, to our health and to your memory.

Salud! Please don’t expect to see me sooner.

Published in LML Polettiques
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