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Parliamentary v. Presidentialism the Philippine Case

Parliamentary v. Presidentialism the Philippine Case

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First draft of position paper for Leg Res. Hassle 4 pages double spaced ang max. I could've said way more.
First draft of position paper for Leg Res. Hassle 4 pages double spaced ang max. I could've said way more.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: Lester Nazarene Ople on Jul 22, 2010
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07/10/2013

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Parliamentary vs. Presidentialism: The Philippine Case
The Philippines is in dire need of systemic reform, and the quickest, albeit the mostdrastic reform that can be implemented is a change from the current American-style PresidentialDemocracy, to a Parliamentary form of government. The conclusion in favor of the Philippinesadopting the parliamentary form of government will be arrived at by defining the characteristics of a parliamentary form of government and placing them side-by-side with select characteristics of our form of presidential government, and it will be shown that, indeed, the parliamentary form of government enables political maturity and economic stability, compared to the current presidentialform of government.A commonly accepted definition of a parliamentary system of government is a system of government where the ministers of the executive branch are drawn from the legislature and areaccountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches of government areintertwined. In such a system, the head of government is both de facto chief executive and chief legislator .
1
Still another author states that parliamentary forms of government is one in which theonly democratically legitimate institution is the parliament; in such a regime, the government’sauthority is completely dependent on parliament’s confidence.
2
 Rep. Florencio Abad, in a positionpaper 
3
defending his opinion of a parliamentary form of government, mentioned that the principaldifference between presidential systems and parliamentary systems lie in the relationship of theexecutive vis-à-vis the legislative branches. Abad claims that in presidential systems, the chief executive is elected for a constitutionally-guaranteed term. He or she cannot, in theory, be forcedby the legislature to resign, except for cause via the highly unusual and exceptional, not tomention difficult, process of impeachment. Being directly elected by the people, the president hasfull claim to democratic legitimacy. The legislature is an assembly of elected representativessimilarly enjoying fixed and constitutionally prescribed terms. As such, it cannot be dissolved bythe president and possesses as much democratic legitimacy as the executive. In a parliamentarysystem, the head of government, the prime minister, is chosen from within the ranks of the
1
Parliamentary System. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parliamentary_system. Viewed July 19, 2010
2
Linz, Juan. The Perils of Presidentialism
. The Journal of Democracy
3
Abad, Florencio.
Should the Philippines turn Parliamentary 
? Position paper 
 
legislature. He or she must, therefore, be supported by, and is dependent upon, the confidence of the legislature. The prime minister can fall and be dismissed from office by the legislature’s voteof no-confidence. On the other hand, he or she (normally in conjunction with the head of state)has the power to dissolve the legislature and call for new elections. In essence, in a presidentialgovernment, there is high potential for tension to exist between the executive and the legislative,while in the parliamentary form, a mutual treatment of goodwill between the head of governmentand the legislative is required, rather than the adversarial concept of separation of powers andchecks-and-balances espoused in American-style presidential forms.The inherent check-and-balance system in a presidential form of government introducesa rigidity that is less favorable to democracy than the flexibility offered by parliamentary systems,where governments are not elected for a fixed term of office but rather depend on the ongoingconfidence of the assembly. Because under presidentialism the chief executive cannot bolster hisor her authority either through a vote of confidence or by dissolving the parliament to call newelections, presidential leadership can be weaker than that provided by some prime ministers.Presidential constitutions often manifest a contradiction between the desire for a strong and stableexecutive and the latent suspicion of that same presidential power.
4
In other words, thepresidential system empowers the president to such an extent that he or she has vast powers for the duration of the term, while at the same time, limits that same power to ensure that he or shedoes not grow too powerful to threaten democracy and the rule of law. The best illustration of thisis the provision in the 1987 Constitution that provides “Every bill passed by the Congress shall,before it becomes a law, be presented to the President. If he approves the same he shall sign it;otherwise, he shall veto it and return the same with his objections to the House where itoriginated, which shall enter the objections at large in its Journal and proceed to reconsider it. If,after such reconsideration, two-thirds of all the Members of such House shall agree to pass thebill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House by which it shall likewise bereconsidered, and
if approved by two-thirds of all the Members of that House, it shall become alaw.
In all such cases, the votes of each House shall be determined by yeas or nays, and thenames of the Members voting for or against shall be entered in its Journal. The President shall
4
Mainwaring, Scott and Shugart, Matthew, quoting in part Juan Linz.
 Juan Linz, Presidentialism, and  Democracy: A Critical Appraisal.
July 1993.
 
communicate his veto of any bill to the House where it originated within thirty days after the dateof receipt thereof, otherwise, it shall become a law as if he had signed it.”
5
In plain and simpleterms, the President’s disagreement with legislative measures merely serves as a point of information, and the legislature, if brazen enough, can still choose to pass laws which neither theexecutive nor the judicial branches of government has the power to protest, so long as it does notviolate the fundamental law nor encroaches on the functions of the other co-equal branches of governmentIn contrast, a parliamentary system, by unifying the functions of the executive and thelegislative in one collegial body, ensures that bills passed as laws have the concurrence of theimplementing body who will be tasked with implementing it. As pointed out by Prof. Jose Abueva,in a position paper in favor of parliamentary federalism, “
The Parliamentary System will helpensure the coordinated and effective exercise of legislative and executive powers that are fused or united in the Parliament. The formulation and implementation of the Government’s policies and  programs will be undertaken by the ruling political party or coalition of political parties in theParliament. There is collective responsibility and accountability for governance.” 
6
Restated, itmeans that there is greater dynamism and synergy between the executive and the legislativebranches, resulting to timely legislative and executive interventions to resolve pressing problemsof the country.In a presidential form of government, the only legal means of removing an incumbentpresident is through the unwieldy, time-consuming, and often procedurally-charged impeachmentproceedings. This inflexibility of the chief executive’s position often means an incompetentPresident can continue and “wait out” the completion of his or her term, and often without anysignificant accomplishments for further growth and development of the country.
7
As shown in thePhilippine experience, mass dissatisfaction with the incumbent President that is not resolved viaconstitutional means are resolved by taking to the streets, or 
People Power 
, as it is commonlyknown.
5
Sec. 27, Art. VI, 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. Emphasis supplied by author.
6
Abueva, Jose, quoting from Alfred Stepan and Cindy Skatch.
Some Advantages of Federalism and  Parliamentary Government for the Philippines.
Position Paper of the Citizens’ Movement for a FederalPhilippines. June 29, 2005.
7
Parreno, Earl G.
The Shift to Parliamentary System: Changing the terrain for PO/NGO Intervention.

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Authored by Lester Nazarene V. Ople, Arellano University School of Law, 1st Trimester AY 2010-2011 The author wishes to make this work publicly available, and authorizes any commercial or noncommercial use of this document as long as due attribution is done.
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