Centrist Proposal for the Revision of the 1987 Constitution Centrist Proposal for the Revision of the 1987 Constitution cdpi, cdp, ajmerto

The Centrist proposals – federal parliamentary Featured

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!
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