By Erik Espina
Fissures in discourses on Charter-Change (Cha-Cha) have been overtaken by alliances of contrasting colors and clashing motives – ambition/vested interests – and when safeguards for revising the present Constitution are breached with haste to railroad federalism – and under Smartmatic? President DU30 before a crowd of Indigenous Peoples in Davao however, openly announced he would respect the will of the people, in case the proposed federal form of government is rejected. In his end statement, however, he warned of continued war in Southern Mindanao.
The political divide is identifiable under:
- Fortuitous timing, tinkering with the “best” Constitution. Poverty, hunger, etc., cannot be solved by constitutional revision. Executive and legislative action are a better route towards a more equitable and optimized sharing of funds and effecting local autonomy. A change in men, not the Constitution is required.
- Cha-Cha and federalism’s time has ripened due to the predominance of “Imperial Manila” and the real objective – the Bangsamoro Basic Law – has passed the litmus test of constitutionality.
- There is a quandary over methodology, whether Constituent Assembly, Constitutional Convention, or People’s Initiative is best and safer approach to Cha-Cha. Each, is confronted with pressing resistance by advocates. The greatest obstacle is distrust.
The 4th means, by historical reckoning and extra-constitutional, is a controversial declaration of “Revolutionary Government.” The 5th mode, I defer discussing another time.
In the tumult of conflicting proposals I am pushing for limited amendments: 1) Return to the tried and tested 4-year term of president and VP with one re-election. 2) Local officials and congressmen’s term of office shall be 4 years, up to 12 years, similar to senators. 3) Senate elections reverted to eighth slots, so it will always have quorum to enable it to continue conducting legislative business. Luzon, Viayas, and Mindanao should each have eight senators. There should be cyclical elections specific to a particular island grouping.
Such amendments will pass common understanding and easy scrutiny of all concerned, given equivalent political opportunities and reforms.