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Electing transforming leaders in 2010

There is a pending proposal in the House of Representatives to elect delegates to a Constitutional Convention in October 2010. • If it is approved in the House and the Senate →the 2010 Constitutional Convention will propose the needed reforms in the 1987 Constitution that can lead to “System change” in our national and local governance.

• If the proposal is not passed →the President we shall elect in 2010 and the senators and representatives of the 15th Congress can lead us in initiating the long overdue “System change” sometime from 2010 to 2016.

Charter change demonized, trivialized, and junked
Behind the repeated failure and frustration were serious flaws in the process:
•suspicions that the incumbent president and legislators merely wanted to extend their terms of office;

•the opposition of many in and out of government, including the media and religious leaders, who have vested interests in the existing system of politics, governance, and economic policy.

Revisiting the reform agenda
1. Reform our Electoral System, Presidential System, and Political Party System.
1.1 National elections for the President and senators are too costly and prone to corruption and fraud. →Change our Presidential System to a Parliamentary System and elect members of Parliament (MPs) in parliamentary districts.

→Abolish the Senate or elect two senators in every autonomous region.
→Abolition of national elections plus automation will also make the district and local elections more efficient and less prone to fraud.

1.2. The 3-year term for House members is too short, costly and wasteful. Impose no term limits for members of the Parliament as in other countries →“vote of no-confidence” by a majority of the MPs.

1.3 The 3-year term of local government leaders is too short, wasteful, and costly. Increase their terms to 4 to 5 years.

→Synchronize all local elections including barangay elections. → Reconsider the maximum term limits on these local leaders which are easily circumvented by the election of their relatives and proxies.

1.4 Grant government subsidies only to the three largest political parties. →Penalize party-switching of MPs.

1.5. Phase out the party-list parties that fragment our present system of representation in the legislature; →consolidate the party-list leaders and members in the regular political parties.

2. Replace our Presidential System with the Parliamentary System.

• The national election of the President--------too costly and corrupting • The incumbent President is not really accountable -assured of a full term with no re-election -may be removed only by impeachment which is almost impossible
• The “separation of powers” has become too divisive and antagonistic.

• Excessive “checks and balance” result in gridlock and paralysis in the governance.

2. Replace our Presidential System with the Parliamentary System. (continuation)
• We need national political parties whose members and leaders are loyal, honest, competent, and committed to their party’s vision, ideals, and platform of government in competing for the people’s support and mandate. • A system of “proportional representation” (PR) in the Parliament will allocate additional seats therein to the various political parties according to their respective share of the total parliamentary votes cast nationwide.

• The acknowledged leader of the leading political parties is the potential Prime Minister, if his/her political party gains a majority of the seats in the Parliament.

2. Replace our Presidential System with the Parliamentary System. (continuation)

• Whoever may be our President and legislators, our divisive, personality-based, and unaccountable kind of Presidential System and our top-down Unitary System cannot deal effectively with our problems of massive poverty, unemployment, inequality, injustice, rebellion, corruption, inadequacy of public services, environmental decay, low global competitiveness, and a weak nation.

3. Restructure our highly centralized Unitary System
• Create autonomous regions and strengthen local government autonomy.
→The great majority of our people live in scattered islands and local communities mostly far from Metro Manila. →Our people expect public services and assistance from their government through their local government leaders.

→Local governments have no control in the development of the natural resources in their own localities:
• A just and enduring peace in Mindanao and elsewhere can be achieved only “by thinking out of the box,” including Charter change.

4. Changing our Unitary System into a viable and progressive Federal System of Government
•At the opportune time, after demonstrating the capability and effectiveness of the autonomous regions and empowered local governments. 5. Liberalization of our constitutional provisions.
•on the participation of foreign investors in our development and in the operation of public utilities.

•compete more effectively with our more liberal neighbors in the rest of Asia.