After Otso Diretso debacle, what next? Manila Times

After Otso Diretso debacle, what next? Featured

I WILL not delve that much into the midterm election results except to surrender to the will of Smartmatic and the Comelec. I reluctantly accede to the “intelligent” voters who have allowed a plunderer to filter through. And I won’t call them stupid or bobo or plain idiots. But for those who sold their votes to the highest bidder, you will get what you deserve. I have learned to accept that for the poverty-stricken, elections are an opportunity to make easy money for the day — and the future be damned! And for the candidates, the phrase — “my opponents are buying votes; I will lose if I don’t” — is just too compelling to dismiss. This practice is so anomalously ingrained in the system.

I will therefore not begrudge many of the unlettered voters for equating a candidate’s qualifications and platform of governance — articulated through a proclivity to entertain by dancing the “budots” well. So, I shall move on and occupy myself with the political issues at hand until the next electoral catastrophe.

With the senatorial winners proclaimed, their sycophants are now throwing their names forward as “presidentiables.” Concocted in the Philippines, this word has not yet been included in Webster’s, but it has gained traction in our political lexicon. The top three senators are automatically accorded this honorific, along with those that occupy the highest offices in the land — vice president, speaker of the House, Senate president and children of autocrats. Also, those wannabees who as their egos dictate anoint themselves as “presidentiables.”

I surmise many of those who welcomed the Liberal Party’s debacle are not exactly enamored with DU30 and Hugpong’s senatorial choices. Individually the Otso Diretso had worthy candidates, but its generic message of hate failed to resonate on the electorate. PRRD, with 80 percent approval rating was not even in the ballot. But an acquiescent Senate is indispensable to the Deegong’s agenda. DU30 got his wish. Our group, the Centrist Democrats for one saw the opportunity with the President to push forward our shared agenda for systemic change by doing away with the 1987 Cory Constitution. Although suspicious and fearful of his despotic tendencies, we are taking the President on faith hoping we are correct. Now the path is clear for the Deegong to push for the revision of the Constitution — and a shift to a federal-parliamentary system with a liberalized economy. This was what the Yellow hordes, the Otso Diretso and their leftist/communist allies have set out to protect.

The process of a shift to federal-parliamentary from the current unitary-presidential will take the three years more allotted to the Deegong; provided some critical reforms are put in place now (“The Centrist proposals — federal parliamentary,” The Manila Times, Jan 18, 2018).

This is the reason why the advocates of constitutional revisions must focus on shaping the debate towards a federal-parliamentary government. The betting and kuro-kuro on “presidentiables” therefore is irrelevant as of the moment. Sara as an heir apparent, Bongbong as a contender, Cynthia Villar as a leading name in the presidential sweepstakes and even Ping Lacson as the dark horse. These are incongruous to the political conversation if the Deegong is to be occupied with the shift to a parliamentary-federal system. The Centrist Democrats will work with the President to implant into the political discourse our proposals, if allowed — all for the good of our countrymen.

On this note, we, the Centrist Democrats, bare our four-decades advocacy. We abrogate the perversion of democracy by an aberrant presidential-unitary government practiced for over a century, that long embraced values of political patronage permeating the body politic. This needs to be overhauled and good practices inculcated over time, safeguarded by judicious laws.

Our Centrist Proposals (Real Change is Here: A Primer on Federal-Parliamentary System, call for “…the fusion of legislative and the executive powers and vested upon a unicameral Parliament; and ‘Head of the Government’ is the Prime Minister with his cabinet recruited from among the members of parliament. The President is the ‘Head of State’ and is elected from among the members of parliament.”

A unicameral parliament is composed of elected members from the parliamentary districts, plus those chosen on the basis of “proportional representation” by the political party itself. These chosen party members are the party-list within a political party and shall constitute 30 percent of the total members of parliament (MP). The current party-list system as practiced should be abolished. What we envision is that political parties shall ensure that in the 30 percent “party-list,” the labor, peasant, urban poor, veterans indigenous people communities, women, youth and differently abled, except the religious sector, are properly represented — within the party.

A parliamentary government is also called “party government” because of the pivotal role of political parties in parliamentary elections, governance and public administrations. Our current political parties are personal factions and alliances of politicians, united mainly for elections and patronage; they have no mass memberships and no sustainable and exclusive serious platform of government that differentiate them from one another. They are not responsible and accountable for their performance in and out of office.

For these reasons, they don’t have loyalty to their parties and migrate to the political party of the winning president. This spectacle is known as “political butterfly.” As proposed, any elective official who leaves his political party before the end of the term shall forfeit his seat and will be replaced by his political party.

A mechanism to replace a prime minister is for parliament to withdraw its confidence and by electing a successor by a “majority vote of all its members.” This “vote of no confidence” is a much easier process of replacing a head of government in a parliamentary system than the current impeachment process of replacing a president.

At the same time that the parliamentary system is being adopted, a step-by-step process creating individual federal states is embedded in the new constitution; a system with clear separation of powers and authority between national government (federal) and the regional governments or local governments (states).

We allow the provinces and highly urbanized component cities to evolve first to an autonomous territory with the decision to group themselves coming from the grassroots. In other words, the citizens within a contiguous territory, with common language and culture must decide in a referendum that they become completely autonomous.

“Self-determination” is central to this decision. Petitions are passed by the local legislative assemblies. If a referendum is passed, within a year, parliament must enact an organic law defining the autonomous territory’s land area, powers, obligations and sources of revenues (taxes).

If 3/5 (60 percent) of the provinces and component cities of the Philippines become autonomous territories, then the federal republic of the Philippines is created.

This election has seen the overwhelming support for the President and his agenda. It is therefore incumbent upon him now to communicate well to the constituency what he wants and intends to do.

Nothing more, nothing less!

For Centrist proposal, please access or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.000
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