“There are many more provisions of the 1987 charter which in my opinion are not in sync with our kind of government structure”
This is a continuation of my column last Tuesday. Due to space constraints I could not fully explain what I think would be best once Congress fully agrees on what to do on the modality or mode of voting of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Once they fully agree on the modality on how to vote on the amendments and revision of the 1987 Constitution, then the amendments would have to begin.
Both chambers of Congress would have to decide whether to vote separately or jointly.
During the past years, the modality on how both chambers of Congress would vote was always a contentious issue.
The Senate, which has only 24 members, would naturally want to vote separately, since the House with its 305 members would naturally want to vote jointly on the argument that it would be cheaper. That’s how things stand at the moment.
Now on what to amend or revise in the 1987 Constitution.
Revision of the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution is foremost in the minds of both the Senate and the House at the moment because of the need to attract foreign investors and create more jobs.
The economic provisions of the charter has been the cry of all foreign chambers of commerce of the Philippines. The Philippines has been laggard in so far as foreign investors are concerned.
Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia are way ahead of the Philippines because they have opened their countries for foreign investment, while we, in the Philippines, are way behind because of restrictive 60-40 restrictions on foreign investments.
At a time when we have become a global economy it’s oppressive that we still try to be nationalistic.
We have amended some of our jurassic laws to catch up with the times, like the Public Service Act but that’s not enough to attract investors.
The only contentious aspect of this is whether or not we will also open our floodgates to foreigners to own lands is another matter.
But, let’s take it one step at a time. Even foreign chambers of commerce in the Philippines prioritize this amendment of the charter.
Another aspect of the economic provisions of the charter is on the ownership of mass media which I believe should be amended.
In my opinion, the 100 percent required ownership and management by Filipinos on mass media is out of sync with the times because with one flick of your finger you can access the Internet foreign newspapers at will.
Others will argue that amendment or revision of the charter to do away with prohibition is against national interest and even national security.
But, Santa Banana, how? Is national interest and national security at risk when one can access the Internet to read the New York Times and The Washington Post? Some of my colleagues in the media may disagree with me on this score, but I am just being practical.
There are many more provisions of the 1987 charter which in my opinion are not in sync with our kind of government structure.
One is the provision which opens the floodgates to what is called party-list representatives.
If you look at the records of the 1987 charter, there was a proposal introduced by then President Cory Aquino to adopt the German type of the party-list system.
The reason for this was the fact that her late husband, former Senator Ninoy Aquino, was pretty close to some communist leaders, like Commander Buscayno.. President Cory wanted parliamentary representation of the Left, and, at that time in 1987 – when the country had a Parliamentary System — Cory wanted parliamentary representation of the communist movement in the country.
But, the parliamentarians lost by one vote. Thus, the Republic System was retained under Cory Aquino, which in effect created a big anomaly by having a multi-party system under a republic form of government.
This anomaly must be corrected, unless of course, Senator Robin Padilla, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendment, will be able to push through his advocacy for Federalism. But, that’s a big IF, Santa Banana!
Personally, I believe the party-list system has become a big anomaly with nominees who are neither marginalized nor under-represented as required by law.
In fact, if you analyze the nominees of partylist parties, some of them are tied up with political dynasties, my gulay!
I believe this should be properly studied. Many of the so-called Makabayan Bloc representing militants and activists are in fact a front of the communist movement.
This provision of the charter is of course another very contentious provision and it must be studied very carefully
Another provision that should be studied very carefully is the qualification of presidential candidates. It must be added to the list of requirements that candidates should at least be college graduates.
My gulay, with the present requirements for presidential candidates, an illiterate or just plain elementary graduate may be elected! Others have tried to become President without a college degree, but, thank heavens, they were not elected.
I can cite more amendments and revisions, like that provision banning political dynasties.
It is impossible to enact an enabling law because of the many political dynasties, including that of the Marcoses.
That’s the reason I would like that provision banning political dynasties amended because Congress is full of political dynasties.
It’s for this reason that I propose amending that provision, to ban more than three members of a family either elected or appointed to only three. With this amendment, almost 80 percent of the hundreds of political dynasties will in effect be allowed to run for public office to get appointed.
Another revision of the 1987 Constitution that must be included is a proposal to have the presidential and vice presidential candidate run in tandem to avoid as we have had in the past a vice president always sniping at an elected President because they belong to different parties.
This is not conducive to a good administration. The election of President Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte Carpio is a perfect example of what I am saying.
In other words, because of the multi-party system, a candidate for President and Vice President tandem must belong to the same group of parties. I believe the amendment of the Constitution needs to be adopted for the common good and national interest.
Last of all, the amendment, to my mind, that has to be reworded or just be removed in the Declaration of Principle and State Policies in Article II, is the part that states that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the state.
In the past, some adventurous people in the military have taken this provision in Section 3 as a go-signal for coup attempts in the military, being the protector of the people and the state.