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Thursday, November 30, 2006 

No!

Bandila

The parliamentary government, in its own right, is a very effective and systematic form of government. The Philippines' young democracy however is simply not ready for this system. Today, House Speaker Jose De Venecia announced that the New Constitution will be ready in 15 days, thus spurring the change of the Philippines' Presidential Government:





"We will have a Charter that shifts the nation to the parliamentary system
and replaces Congress with a unicameral parliament by Dec. 15,"


I oppose the proposed charter change due these points:

No Major Constitutional Breakdowns to Date.

First, the 1987 constitution is still young, it is still too early to judge it as ineffective or flawed. Yes, there may have been coups here and there but never have they prevailed. They might have gotten close to prevailing but the majority of our military is sworn to protect the constitution, and so have our leaders. We always found refuge in the current constitution, our government has remained intact throughout our young democracy (at least since 1987). The only real challenge that threatened our constitution's solidity is the issue of former Pres. Joseph Estrada's ousting, but a major breakdown was stalled due to a vital branch of the presidential system, the Supreme Court, ruling in favor of the legitimacy of Pres. Arroyo's Administration.

On Corruption

The parliamentary system shows to minimize corruption in any government, however corruption is so deep-rooted in our history as Filipinos that it is hard or nearly impossible to eradicate. This ill-practice has been around since the time of Legazpi, or perhaps even Rajah Bendahara Kalantiaw III, and a 400 year old deed is "indeed" difficult to amend. Bangladesh, the only country to surpass the Philippines in terms of corruption, is by the way under a Parliamentary Republic. Poor Bangladesh. Poor Philippines...

Ideological Cohesiveness

We have not had Political Parties with clear-cut ideological definitions since the time of Ninoy, namely the Liberals and the Nationalistas. This is vital in a parliament since political policies are defined by political ideologies. Our current House of Representatives is composed of at least 30 parties. How they can come to terms in building a unified ideology is doubtful. Do we expect our country to move forward in at least 30 directions? Progress is a one-way road.

Unicameral

In Unicameralism, there is no proper representation of provinces or states in a legislature. The control of the parliament will be greatly influenced by largely populated urban areas, thus taking away the needed representation of less populated rural provinces. Having an Upper House will not only be able to represent the provinces but will also be able to oversee the business of the lower house. Without proper supervision, the lower house may abuse its powers. Powers which include the ability to prolong tenure. Tenure possibly much longer than the late Dictator himself.

There are also no clear cut definitions as to the powers of a single house. The single house may in itself be comprised of today's Presidential, Legislative and Judicial branches, three separate branches with separate powers all boiled into one. Parliaments do have a judiciary branch, but this branch is also composed of parliamentarians themselves. Thus the principle of checks and balances is neglected, just pure power and control in the hands of the parliament.

True, most parliamentary countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and Japan, are one of the most progressive countries in the world today, but neither of these countries have a Unicameral House. Unicameral Parliaments are preferred by countries like Papua New Guinea, Tanzania and... ...Bangladesh. In fairness, most unicameral countries are also progressive, but still... ...Poor Bangladesh, Poor Philippines.

The Election of the Prime Minister

In a parliamentary system the prime minister is elected by the party leadership. For as long as the Prime Minister has the confidence of the majority party, the prime minister retains the power. Judging Filipino politics, this really lies in favor to our traditional politicians or trapos as we call them. Politicians such as Jose De Venecia himself, and dreadfully, Pres. Arroyo who plans to stay in power until year 2010, long after her term is due.

No Time Frame for Elections

Parliamentarians, again, can just stay there for as long as they want. Unless the house calls for a clear out, there will be no elections. This may be good in terms of saving hundreds of millions of pesos politicians spend during elections but imagine a bad politician serving for, say, 20 years? I'd rather have a good politician serve 6 or 9 years in office, if one ever exists. These trapos may stay there probably until they all die...

In conclusion, a Parliamentary-Federal government is not at all bad, it has countless advantages over our current system. However, the Presidential government also has its advantages over this proposed change in government. The only problem is that we have not been able to tap its full potential... yet. And when I say this, I always mean that the Philippines is too young a democracy to go through another change. Why don't we make the current system work properly first and give it time to unfold itself for the Filipino people. Give it about 50 years, afterwhich, we can probably contemplate change.

I guess you have snapped out of your trance...I think you have had a dose of a "RUDE AWAKENNING" and now that you've figured out the senseless secret of living, try not to take things too seriously. It's the knowlege that we humans stive so hard to find and when realization strikes we realize that we didn't want to find it in the first place.Knowing what we know now-(then)-we wouldn't even try to look for the answer. "The more we know the lonelier life becomes." My Friend! WELCOME TO THE TRUTH!...PEACE!!!

Thank you Manuel. True, but without the search for knowledge, we would remain as stagnant as a puddle of water infested by mosquito wrigglers. I'd rather be part of a brook, unknowingly ending up with the sea even if the sea was unbearably salty. It's the journey that counts anyway. (This is just me being sentimental and all... hehe.) Thanks for the comment!ü

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  • This is K.C.
  • Blogging from My Workstation, Makati City, Philippines
  • A Cancerian. A painfully emotional and hopelessly romantic (sometimes) creature. Puts matter over mind most of the time. But whatever matter he puts his mind into, he gets. A Self proclaimed intellectual despite the above statements. Oh yes, I almost forgot, also, grumpy.ü
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