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Feb 10

Who will rob us least?

Philstar.com – The Filipino Global Community

“Against the odds, we still hope this exercise will be an edifying one for our democracy. The burden on redeeming this exercise falls on those with a program to sell, not on those who seek to win power by bringing down the quality of our political discourse. They must do their best to move our voters to choose on the basis of issues.”

Pious hopes from Prof. Alex Magno. The problem is, the only real issue since 1946 has been graft and corruption in the government, and beyond that, poverty.

1 comment

  1. Dwight M. Galarrita

    AN APPEAL TO THE BEST MINDS OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE

    NO TO CHA-CHA! BRING BACK TWO-PARTY SYSTEM OF ELECTIONS. LET’S ORGANIZE A SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN FOR PEOPLE’S INITIATIVE FOR FIRST CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT!!! JOIN PIFFCA VOLUNTEERS. SIGN PIFFCA PETITION NOW.

    Sir, it’s time to admit it. Our elections are going wild, if not chaotic!

    Take a look at what’s happening: the current political parties are never mindful of their long-term programs or platform of government; politicians are creating or coalescing parties purely for the sake of winning elections; there is no party discipline to talk about since candidates are switching loyalties or founding parties left and right for the sake of convenience; and, worst of all, candidates are being fielded because of only one factor – his or her perceived popularity and/or win ability. Meanwhile, the issues that confront the survival of our very own republic are taken for granted.

    Let’s face it, sir. Our system of elections will produce leaders who are popular but incompetent i.e., TV personalities, artistas, and basketbolistas. When will we ever learn that the election of a popular but incompetent president will result to a strong but divisive clamor for his or her ouster?!

    Thus, the question arises: how are we going to remove from office an incompetent but popular president? Are we prepared to go through another farcical and onsehan impeachment process? Simply put, the people are sick and tired of doing another EDSA TRES, QUATRO, CINCO, and so on and so forth. That surely makes the option of a military coup or bloody revolution acceptable, if not inevitable.

    Sir, please listen. If we do not reform our system of electing our leaders, a national catastrophe awaits us! It might happen soon after the May 2004 elections. Hence, the time has come to join hands and put our act together.

    Let us join hands in saving the Philippine Republic! Now is the time to launch a nationwide movement or signature campaign for constitutional amendment, not CHA-CHA nor constitutional revision as foisted to us by our politicians. Let us spearhead a Peoples’ Initiative under Section 2, Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution so as to introduce a limited amendment to our Fundamental Charter, with the following aims and objectives, to wit:

    · The establishment of a Two-Party System Of Elections consisting of one ruling political party (RPP) and one opposition political party (OPP);
    · Prevention of political turncoatism or switching of party-affiliation merely for the sake of convenience or winning elections;
    · Prohibition of the two main political parties from influencing or tinkering the composition of party-list representatives;
    · Retention of term limits still existing under our present Constitution;
    · Election of our Senators by region

    Our movement seeks to introduce a limited amendment, not entire revision of the present Constitution. In fact, under our People’s Initiative, only three (3) constitutional provisions are hereby proposed to be amended, namely: (1) Section 6, Art. IX-C; (2) Section 2, Article VI; and finally, (3) Section 3, Article VI.

    Specifically, our existing presidential form of government shall not be changed. In other words, our national movement is REFORMIST, not REVISIONIST in character.

    Moreover, politicians shall be barred from joining our election reform movement. People, who are seeking any position or office in the Government, whether elective or appointive, shall not be eligible for membership in our signature campaign. To drive home the point, the incumbent elective officials and politicians are to be considered as obstacles to our movement because once they are in power; they have nothing in mind but to seek re-election, extend their term of office and remove the constitutional provision on term limits.

    Provisions of the present Charter that are hereby proposed to be amended:

    May we, therefore, introduce our proposed amendment to the 1987 Constitution, to wit:

    1. Section 6, Art. IX-C of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that: “A free and open party system shall be allowed to evolve according to the free choice of the people, subject to the provisions of this Article.”

    This particular constitutional provision must be amended to provide a smooth transition from the present chaotic multi-party system to a two-party system of elections. After all, our collective experience as a nation will prove that a multi-party system of election is just another name for “multiple personality political disorder”.

    It must be emphasized, however, that our proposed two-party system is still free and open. Political parties may be organized and registered in accordance with law.

    Moreover, we must be aware that our proposed two-party system would be a mere toothless or chimerical amendment if candidates can still afford to switch or transfer party affiliation with impunity. A safeguard mechanism must be established so as to prevent “political turncoatism”. Our proposed constitutional amendment must discourage potential turncoats from making themselves into “political butterflies”.

    Finally, there must be a provision in our proposed constitutional amendment that is designed to prevent the two main political parties, namely: (a) the ruling political party [RPP]; and, (b) the opposition political party [OPP] from influencing or tinkering the composition of party-list representatives in Congress. We must strive to preserve the integrity of our party-list system.

    Thus, Article IX, C, Section 6 of the 1987 Constitution is hereby amended to read as follows:

    “Sec. 6. A two-party system shall be adopted for the election of all national and local elective public officials. The Congress shall provide for the accreditation and proclamation of the two main political parties, consisting of a ruling and an opposition party, including the manner of registration, discipline, selection, nomination and fielding of candidates belonging to either party. All other political parties aspiring for elective positions in the Government may be registered and classified as independent in accordance with law.

    For a period of three years immediately preceding or following an election, no elective public official or registered member of either the ruling or opposition party may run as candidate of any of the two main political parties wherein he transferred his party affiliation.

    For a period of three years immediately preceding or following an election, no losing candidate for any elective position nor any registered member of either of the two main political parties shall be appointed as representative under the party-list system.”

    Comment/Explanation:

    The first paragraph of our proposed amendment provides for the establishment of a two party system of elections. The two main political parties shall consist of a ruling political party [RPP] and an opposition political party [OPP].

    Congress shall provide for the details and mechanics in the accreditation and proclamation of the two main political parties, as well as the selection process and nomination of a party’s roster of candidates.

    Congress shall also provide for the registration and participation of independent political parties in every scheduled election.

    The second paragraph tackles the problem of political turncoatism and promotes party discipline within the two main political parties. A registered member of any of the two main political parties who transferred to the other main political party must wait for three (3) years or let one (1) scheduled election pass before he or she is eligible to run as candidate of the party wherein he or she transferred his or her party-affiliation.

    The third paragraph prohibits the two main political parties from influencing or tinkering the composition of party-list representatives in Congress. A registered member or candidate of any of the two main political parties cannot be appointed as party-list representative unless: (a) he terminated or withdrew his membership from the RPP or OPP; and (b) three years had passed from such termination or withdrawal.

    The intention of the framers of our Constitution to insulate the party-list system from partisan political activity must be preserved at all cost and by all means.

    Therefore, from the time a person terminated his membership in any of the two main political parties, he must wait for three (3) years or let one (1) election pass before he can be appointed as party list representative.

    2. Section 2, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that: “The Senate shall be composed of twenty-four Senators who shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of the Philippines, as may be provided by law.”

    This particular constitutional provision must be amended to provide election of our Senators by region, as may be provided by law.

    There was one time that Mindanao, comprising of several regions had no representation in the Senate. The composition of our current Senate needs to be updated if it is truly representative of the Filipino people. Election of Senators by region will ensure proper representation in the Senate, considered to be a fertile training ground for future presidents.

    Thus, Section 2, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution is hereby amended to read as follows:

    “Sec. 2. The Senate shall be composed of three Senators from the National Capital Region and two Senators from each region of the country who shall be elected at large by the qualified voters of their region, as may be provided by law.”

    Comment/Explanation:

    Our proposed amendment provides for the election of our Senators by region. The National Capital Region, being the most populous region deserves to have three (3) Senators. All the rest shall have two Senators each as may be provided by law.

    3. Section 3, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that: “No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.”

    This particular constitutional provision must be amended to reconcile proposed amendment no. 2 & 3 because of the proposed regional election of our Senators.

    Thus, Section 3, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution is hereby amended to read as follows:

    “Sec. 3. No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter in the region in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.”

    Comment/Explanation:

    A senatorial candidate must be a registered voter in the region in which he filed his candidacy and he must be a resident thereof for not less than two (2) years.

    CAMPAIGN STRATEGY

    Our target: Twelve (12%) per centum of the total number of the country’s registered voters and three (3%) per centum of the registered voters in every legislative district.

    Let’s get organized. The merits and strengths of our constitutional amendments may neither reach nor sink to the consciousness of the average Filipino if our campaign has no organizational structure with identifiable leaders. We must be able to set up first a national organization whose leaders will conduct the recruitment of capable leaders in every legislative district who will in turn take charge in organizing the signature campaign down to the barangay level.

    The First Stage: Recruitment of the best minds of our country. Prominent Filipinos who are known for their idealism, selflessness and dedication must be convinced to join our movement. The leaders of all professional and socio-civic groups in the country must be harnessed. Men and women who are not seeking any office in the Government must be recruited to act as the leaders of our movement at the national level.

    Nowadays, Teodoro C. Benigno and other journalists are openly clamoring for a two-party system. These brilliant and articulate Filipinos have the desire but are simply stymied by the seemingly impossible task of amending the 1987 Constitution through People’s Initiative. It is hoped that by the end of February 2004, the prominent leaders of this movement will be presented to the people in a news conference.

    At the national level, perhaps, the possible leaders of this movement are:

    § Retired SC Justice Isagani A. Cruz
    § Former Senate President Jovito Salonga
    § Former President Corazon C. Aquino
    § Rev. Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J.
    § Atty. Romulo B. Macalintal
    § Dean Espejo, San Sebastian College Of Law
    § Atty. Oscar L. Karaan
    § Mr. Joel Rocamora, Institute For Popular Democracy

    The Second Stage: The recruitment of volunteers in every legislative district so that our target of gathering The Golden 12%-3% Signatures will now be conducted. Each legislative district must be classified according to voter strength. Moreover, within every legislative district, a cohesive organization of volunteers must be organized so that the conduct of signature campaign will gather momentum. It is hoped that by mid 2005, our national movement would have gathered enough signatures to our petition.

    WHY IT’S TIME TO ACT NOW

    Di dapat mag-antay! Kumilos na tayong lahat. Ngayon na!

    Let us not wait for the aftermath of the forthcoming May 10, 2004 elections. The urgency and strength of our proposed constitutional amendments will stand as a beacon of hope for our frustrated and disillusioned electorate.

    The ensuing anger and confusion before, during and after the May 2004 elections will put the incumbent president in a precarious position. She had lost all semblance of credibility after breaking her promise not to run. As a result, even if she wins a hotly disputed election (by fraud or by technicality), she will find her hands tied to clinging on tightly to power rather than governing for the common good. She is a political powder keg. A few demagogues here and there and the fury of the “masa” will be unleashed against her.

    Our signature campaign must be conducted simultaneously with the election campaign of all the country’s politicians. Let’s not wait for the chaotic results of the forthcoming 2004 elections. Right now the people must be given the opportunity to make comparisons and judgment about just how insane our current multi-party elections are, compared with that of a two-party system.

    The Filipino people should not entrust the task of amending the Constitution to our current crop of selfishly motivated politicians. Whoever wins in the forthcoming 2004 presidential elections will strive to revise or scrap altogether our commendable but imperfect Constitution.

    Let there be no doubt about it. Congress acting as a constituent assembly will open the floodgates of so many amendments and revisions not intended for the good of the Filipino people but to benefit the myopic and selfish interests of our congressmen. Such constituent assembly will surely come up with an entirely strange constitution, wherein the Senate will be consigned to oblivion. (Incidentally, Speaker De Venecia has repeatedly declared his plan to abolish the Senate.) With the abolition of the Senate, comes the removal of term limits, thus, completely obliterating all constitutional safeguards against “warlordism” or “political dynasty” as envision by the framers of our 1987 Constitution.

    Be that as it may, all of the presidential candidates have openly expressed their desire to revise our fundamental Charter with the pretext that a parliamentary or federal system is better than the existing presidential form of government. A growing number of Filipinos are nowadays buying the idea of CHA-CHA as foisted upon them by their congressmen. The deceitful contention of our congressmen is that a shift to a parliamentary system will necessarily produce the much talked-about Philippine economic miracle.

    Balderdash! To be honest, our congressmen are only after of removing their term limits, first, foremost and nothing else. (Presidential or parliamentary [kuno!], pipwede basta’t walang putol ang ligaya.)

    Neither should we allow the mangling of our fundamental Charter by means of a Constitutional Convention. It is very expensive and time consuming. Besides, the delegates of such CON-CON will never be fully insulated from the wiles and dictates of the powers that be as history had shown us during the 1973 Constitutional Convention. In short, Malacañang will always have the power and the means to make the CON-CON delegates abide by its wishes.

    JOIN PIFFCA NOW

    Mga kababayan, di dapat mag-antay! Kumilos na tayong lahat. Ngayon na!

    Let there be sanity in our system of elections. Preserve the gains of the EDSA REVOLUTION. Save the Philippine Republic from chaos and backslide to authoritarian rule. Let’s organize a signature campaign for People’s Initiative For First Constitutional Amendment. Join PIFFCA! Sign PIFFCA PETITION now!!!

    NO TO CHA-CHA! BRING BACK TWO-PARTY SYSTEM OF ELECTIONS. LET’S ORGANIZE A SIGNATURE CAMPAIGN FOR PEOPLE’S INITIATIVE FOR FIRST CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT!!! JOIN PIFFCA VOLUNTEERS. SIGN PIFFCA PETITION NOW.

    Sir, kumilos na tayo habang hindi pa huli ang lahat. Ngayon na, please!

    Makati City, December 29, 2003.

    ATTY. DWIGHT M. GALARRITA
    Oscar L. Karaan & Associates Law Office
    Rm. 410 Roman Santos Bldg.,
    Plaza Lacson, Sta. Cruz, Manila
    Tel. Nos. 734-4780; 734-4701; 830-0579
    Email: dmgals@nsclub.net

    P.S.

    Please send your views, comments and/or suggestions to dmgals@nsclub.net

    PAKIUSAP

    Kung kayo man po ay sawang-sawa na at hindi na kayang sikmurahin pa ang bulok na sistema ng ating halalan, mangyari lamang po ay paki-FORWARD o paki-EMAIL na rin ng mensaheng ito sa inyong mga kaibigan.

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