What for? PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 07 April 2017 13:52

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — It would be wise for Congressmen Celso L. Lobregat and Mannix Dalipe to do some academic work before voting, when the time comes, for a change in the Philippines’ system of government — from the present one to an unacquainted, unfamiliar system that doesn’t guarantee the end of corruption, the death of severe poverty, the obliteration of illegal drugs, the fulfillment of a promise for more jobs, put an end to political dynasty, and stop Tiger China from breaching our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In 1788, the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified to replace the 1781 Articles of Confederation that served as the first constitution of the 13 original states. The states retained their sovereignty, freedom and independence.

The 1788 Constitution created a strong central government composed of three branches: executive, legislative and judicial. Like the Philippines, the system ensures that no one branch of government assumes too much power over the others. Also, like what the Philippines has, the U.S. Congress is comprised of two legislative houses (bicameral body) — the House of Representatives and the Senate. They, like the Philippines’, approve laws. The executive branch oversees the enforcement of all federal laws. The primary function of the judiciary is to interpret the laws and ensures that they are constitutional.

The provisions on checks and balances are similar between the U.S. federal-presidential form of government and the political system of the Philippines. Congress passes laws, and the president has the power to veto them, if in disagreement. In the U.S., the president is empowered to nominate Supreme Court justices, but must be confirmed by the Senate by a 60-40 vote. The Supreme Court, as in the Philippines, has the power to nullify laws passed by congress by declaring them unconstitutional. The U.S. congress, like the Philippine congress, has the power to impeach federal officials — president, Vice President and federal judges.

From the above, must the Philippines’ system of government be radically changed from presidential to federal-parliamentary or federal-presidential form of government when what we have now are similar to that of the U.S.?

A dog is a dog. Changing it with another dog will still make it a dog.

The concept for the establishment of checks and balances was done by the founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and James Madison on Feb. 8, 1788. Like in the U.S. constitution, the Cory Constitution provides the Bill of Rights that guarantees basic freedom and liberties of individuals and the rights as enshrined in the Local Government Code reserved to the states (regions). The Bill of Rights was crafted to guard against tyranny and oppression that can result when the central government is granted too much power.

Hamilton, Madison and John Hay supported a strong central government (which the Philippines has). Anti-federalist Thomas Jefferson feared the proposed constitution would give too much power to the central government. He favored a form of government in which the states would retain more powers (as the powers envisioned for the proposed new Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao).

What for should the present Philippine administration push to abolish the Cory Constitution, crafted by 50 highly-intelligent, morally-straight people, and ratified by over 90 percent of literate Filipinos, and replace it with a parliamentary or federal constitution that will bear no clear posterity for future, and even present, generations?

Susmariajosep! The working class will suffer severely under a federal-presidential form of government because of the imposition of more taxes to support the central and state governments.

It is, therefore, imperative that Lobregat and Dalipe hire top-notch constitutional lawyers to direct their thoughts on this critical dIspute that will decide the future of the Philippines — beyond 2022.