Federalist questions (Part 21)

Published November 21, 2019, 12:40 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Erik Espina
Erik Espina

The confused approach to Philippine federalism with various competing models (e.g., PDP, Consultative Committee, House of Representatives etc.) further exposes the weakness of the attempt to find the best matrix for adoption.

In the House version (authored by Speaker Gloria Arroyo and 21 other legislators) there is no specific number of federal states provisioned, leaving this to local government initiatives. In Article 3, a Bill of Rights, with a collateral Bill of Duties in Article 4. Article 7 revives the two-party system. Article 8, Legislative Department, removes term limits, increases number of congressmen to 300 with 20% from party-lists and, aside from being able to read and write, a college degree is required. The House speaker chairs the Commission on Appointments, not the Senate president. Congress is granted the power to increase its own appropriations, including the Judiciary, over the allocations recommended by the Executive Branch.

The Consultative Committee version of Art. 21 provides: “…its federal structure, its indissolubility & permanence shall not be subject to amendments or revisions”. Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile cites this as “A very presumptuous provision. Why do we deny future Filipinos the same freedom that we now exercise in our time?”
Federalism as alien to our rooted historical experience and Philippine culture. There is no grassroots clamor or traceable majority supporting federalism. There is the mad rush to drive federalism in the present administration, before time runs out. The movement suspects their viability expires after Digong.

The President himself frankly indicated, he would not force the issue, if the people do not want it.

Other ironies over federalism include programed funding for fumbling states, when the nature of such governance is, each state must stand on its own. Dictated state capitals by whom? etc.