Questions on why people don’t like Cha-Cha and federalism

The recent poll survey showing that most Filipinos (67 percent) are against constitutional revision and the shift of the kind of government we now have, which is unitary form, to a federal system raises questions which President Duterte and his administration must bear in mind because the survey is supposed to be the sentiment of the people.

These questions are: First, why have a constitutional convention at this point in time with so many seemingly unsolvable problems facing the country? Second, will Charter change result in better life for Filipinos? Third, why change the system of government into federalism? Will federalism result in the betterment of 106 million Filipinos? And lastly, will a federal form of government solve poverty?

Frankly, I am no expert on federalism, much less one of those self-proclaimed federalists who seem to know all the answers.

But while I am all for constitutional revision because I believe the fundamental law of the land is not cast in stone, I doubt it very much if this is the time for charter change. Besides, I believe the 1987 charter was a reactionary charter against the Marcos dictatorship.

Santa Banana, if some members of Congress have not read the proposed Federal system of government that the Duterte-assigned Consultative Commission framed to change the system of government we now have, how much less the people who are supposed to ratify it?

The reaction of those surveyed against Charter change and the push for a shift of the form of government from a unitary to a federal form was to be expected. First, because they don’t know what it is, and more importantly, they have their own problems to cope with like where the next meal will come from.

But what I know is that the findings of the survey could well be a referendum of the Duterte administration that has been pushing for Charter change, and a shift to a federal system of government.

Recall that President Duterte had repeatedly vowed to step down once a federal system of government is installed.

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I don’t know if Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. is speaking for the President when he said that media people are conniving with “oligarchs” to attack President Duterte.

Frankly, I don’t know why Evasco said it, and whether or not it’s true that media people from newspapers and from broadcast (radio and television) are guilty of such, but I suspect being a secretary of the Cabinet, Evasco must have heard the same comment from the President and members of the Cabinet that so-called “oligarchs” are conniving with media to attack the President.

If it’s the feeling of President Duterte and members of the Cabinet that there is indeed connivance or a conspiracy between media people and oligarchs to hit the President, why doesn’t Evasco look at the many Duterte defenders and apologists in the opinion pages of newspapers who sing poems and praises for the President and his administration?

However, if Evasco were not speaking for the President nor the administration, then he should just keep his big mouth shut because he does not know what he is talking about.

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I don’t really know what the minions of president Duterte means when they said that he will speak from the heart during his Sona or State of the Nation Address this coming July 23.

If the President will indeed speak from his heart, will he really tell the nation that he has not quite delivered all the promises he announced when he became President, like ending the drug menace soon enough, criminality and corruption? Will he explain why his promise to end “endo” or contractualization has not come about? In fact, government has become the greatest offender of contractualization.

Will the President say that there’s an environment of lawlessness and violence and killings and more killings of those involved in the illegal drugs and local officials?

I know the President will enumerate what administration departments have done for the people. Every administration department had submitted to him their achievements and accomplishments. That’s what is called d’riguer.

But, Santa Banana, that’s not the true state of the nation. 

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Sometime ago, I wrote that there’s need for the Commission on Audit and the Ombudsman to take a deeper look what the COA had said were violations of the law when some lawyers of the Government Corporate Counsel were getting excessive allowances from goverment-owned and/or -controlled corporations or GOCCs they were assigned to in violation of the law that these allowances should not exceed 50 percent of the annual salaries these lawyers get from government.

There were also reports coming from COA that Solicitor General Jose Calida and some lawyers in his office also have excessive allowances.

I had written on the need for the Ombudsman to dig deeper into this kind of anomaly because excessive allowances given to lawyers who are assigned by the corporate counsel to GOCCs could had been bribed, and the amount could even reach like billions of pesos.

Obviously, the Ombudsman thinks this is a petty crime. But, if these excessive allowances include the SolGen and lawyers of the government corporate counsel, it’s an anomaly just the same and must be looked into.

My gulay, if the SolGen is involved in this kind of anomaly, the fight against government corruption becomes meaningless.

Further inquiry into this kind of anomaly could show big cans of worms awaiting to be opened. If Malacañang doesn’t like to look into these anomalies, Congress should if the Ombudsman will not.

Santa Banana, I honestly believed that there’s a lot of bribery going on resulting in excessive allowances.

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The practice of the Philippine National Police in providing bodyguards to VIPs and members of Congress, the senators and members of the House of Representatives must be looked into in the wake of killings and more killings amounting to a climate of impunity now prevailing in the country.

Santa Banana, why should senators and members of the House be provided with bodyguards when in effect, it’s us taxpayers who are paying for them? I am sure members of Congress can pay for their own bodyguards.

The point I would like to emphasize here is that every citizen needs police protection and the more  ent, the Senate President, or the Speaker of the House, and even the Chief Justice of Supreme Court should not be given bodyguards. They need them for protection since they are in the line of succession.

The point I am driving at is that the PNP needs to review this practice of providing bodyguards to every member of Congress, which to me, consequently results in less protection by the police for ordinary mortals like me.

This is something that the President as the “top cop” of the country should also look into since the number of policemen cannot guarantee overall protection of the citizenry.

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Cotabato City the second safest city in the Philippines?

I don’t know who said it is. But, what I know is that many of the former residents of Cotabato City are afraid to go home because of reports of criminality, especially kidnapping.

Cotabato now is a far cry from the Cotabato City I knew when the Oblates asked me and my late good friend, Rudy Tupas, to edit the Mindanao Cross, which was then a weekly newspaper. Now, it’s daily with some 100,000 copies in circulations all over Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago.

Cotabato City brings pleasant memories to me because that’s where I met my wife. And it is where I first got my feet in real journalism which has become my calling.

My gulay, there was even a time when kidnappers would just knock on our door to  make you know that you are kidnapped for ransom.

Santa Banana, Cotabato City the second safest city nationwide? They must be kidding, since I know only too well that even long-time residents in that city do not like to go home.

Topics: Charter change , Rodrigo Duterte , Federalism , Congress , Philippine National Police , House of Representatives , Jose Calida , Leoncio Evasco Jr
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