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Jan 04

The Long View: Arroyos legacy

The Long View
Arroyo’s legacy
By Manuel L. Quezon III
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:39:00 01/04/2010

THE SPEAKER SAYS THE 2010 GENERAL Appropriations Act is a-printing and is due on the President’s desk by the 7th of this month. In the past, the President notoriously spent immense amounts of time poring over the budget, leading one exasperated congressman to describe her as a “fussbudget” (defined by the American Heritage dictionary as a “person who fusses over trifles. Also called fusspot”). But then again, her mastery of both the wholesale and retail aspects of politicking is what has kept her in power.

By the time Congress reconvenes on the 18th, legislators will know if the President has done her part by approving the thickly larded budget, allowing them to adjourn on Feb. 5 to campaign, secure in the knowledge the administration will take care of its own. Congress going on the hustings also means all pretenses at oversight will be abandoned, leaving the President poised to spend freely for partisan purposes.

As she wraps up her presidency, the President is putting in place a five-point legacy which aims to keep her politically relevant and leave her successor hamstrung from Day One of the next presidency.

The first legacy will be an empty national treasury by mid-year. The budget was supposed to be balanced by this year; the Department of Finance has already announced this can’t happen until 2015. The deficit already exceeded projections by P50 billion for 2009; government officially projects a P278-billion deficit for this year, while analysts suggest this is up to P44 billion short of what they think the real deficit will be.

The second legacy is tied to the first: to confront the next administration with an Arroyo bloc impossible to ignore. There is, first of all, the Arroyo family bloc that could have five members – the President, her two sons (her eldest might be reinvented as a party-list representative), plus her brother- and sister-in-law in the House by June 2010. Her bloc would also include Cabinet members poised to enter Congress and local governments.

Arthur Yap, for one, running unopposed for the 3rd District of Bohol, will, like Eduardo Ermita who is running for the 1st District of Batangas, continue to serve in the Cabinet, thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision. Yap will be presiding over a Department of Agriculture budget increased by P9 billion: a bonanza that comes in very handy indeed for the same cast of characters that gave us the Fertilizer Scam for the 2004 polls.

Aside from helping to elect themselves, the President and Cabinet members like Agnes Devanadera (also running for a House seat) can ensure the budget is spent to help friends and punish enemies, while maneuvering in the remaining nine days of the current Congress’ regular session to deny crucial government piggy banks to the next administration. Pagcor Chair Ephraim Genuino has been quietly lobbying to give himself a legislated fixed term, which would ensure his clout continues beyond the current dispensation.

The third legacy is tied to the first two: to ensure the national polls end up under a cloud of doubt to deny the next president legitimacy. The Palace says it will support the Comelec’s proposal to hold ARMM elections ahead of the country – a proposal that makes sense only to the same administration types who claim they will get 33 percent of the vote, to condition the minds of the electorate to expect unexpected results in the May elections. What should be done is to hold national elections first, and then hold elections in the ARMM. To do the reverse is to lay the basis for administration-engineered trending for whoever is its real candidate.

As it is, the Miracle of Automation is poised to turn into a hybrid monster of an election, with some areas automated, others still manually conducted: or, for manual voting to take place with only the transmission and adding-up of precinct results automated, similar to the manner in which the KBL tried to massage the votes in 1986.

Which leads to the fourth legacy: a truncated term for the next president. Out of cash, with the Frankenstein Coalition poised to finally capture the Senate – something it failed to do during Arroyo’s term – the result could be a new administration faced with the leading suspects from the past regime safe in Congress, maneuvering to turn the presidency into a decoration.

And this leads to the fifth legacy, which is to tie the hands of the next administration internationally. Even if it doesn’t turn out to be true, that US Ambassador Kristie Kenney’s term is being extended to help nurse a RP-MILF deal before May, there’s the possibility the President will try to tie the hands of her successor by rushing a BJE-MOA deal redux before her term ends. Foreign governments acting as godparents of such a deal would look unkindly at any effort to change the terms of reference of such an agreement, or on any situation that might replace the present dispensation with an unfriendly one.

The warlord alliances of the administration will need assurances they won’t be edged out if the ARMM expands into a BJE: and the administration needs them to be cooperative and happy so they will deliver in 2010 as they did in 2004. But delivering means risking exposure.

Which means that even if the 2010 elections end up a shambles, the willingness of the international community to support democracy would be circumscribed by their interest in nurturing a deal they helped hammer out.

This would have an effect not just on partisan institutions like the executive or the legislature (it will be easy enough to sidestep legal language that might arouse the antagonism of the Supreme Court: the real political objective is to enshrine expanded territory with substantial attributes of sovereignty for the proposed BJE) but even on the Armed Forces, which might otherwise balk at taking a pro-administration hard line if the 2010 polls end up clouded by doubt.

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  1. nick

    “…truly dislikable person… In a party system even you can get elected.”-manuel to Dr. Joe

    WHAAAAT? In a parliamentary system the likes of Dr. Joe can get elected? HEAVENS FORBID! If that happens, the Philippines is doomed.

  2. mlq3

    No.

  3. Dr. José Rizal II

    Manolo,

    “No” is not enough.

    Please explain why you still are unable to see something so obvious. Are you the kind of person that still thinks of the Earth as flat? Are you the kind of person that thinks that the Sun revolves around the Earth?

    I ask such because it is very obvious to everyone who looks at all the evidence that the Parliamentary System IS INDEED SUPERIOR to the faulty and failed Philippine Presidential System (esp. the 1987 Cory Constitution-prescribed Presidential System).

    And although the superiority of the Parliamentary System is clearly established, you still can’t see it.

    Apparently, your “No” answer implies that you, Manuel L. Quezon III actually think that the Presidential System currently in use in the Philippines which is based on the 1987 Cory Constitution which most real experts know to have been faulty and failed is – TO YOUR MIND – MUCH BETTER than the Parliamentary System.

    So, Manolo, please explain WHY YOU THINK THE FAULTY, FAILED, and INFERIOR 1987 Cory Constitution-based System is “better” than the Parliamentary System.

    Explain why, Manolo. Don’t just give “No” as your answer. Substantiate your “NO.” Give us your reasons. Explain exactly why.

    “No” is not enough. Give us your REASONS. Tell us WHY. 😉

    your mentor,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  4. Dr. José Rizal II

    Manolo,

    I hope you realize why YOU NEED TO GIVE YOUR REASONS behind your “NO” answer.

    You see, Manolo, choosing between the Parliamentary and the Presidential System is a SYSTEM concern. Some systems are better than others. This isn’t about TASTE.

    It’s not like asking a kid “do you prefer chocolate or vanilla ice-cream?

    It’s not like asking a person “do you prefer tea or coffee?”

    Because Manolo, those are about taste. There is no disputing TASTE. You are ENTITLED TO YOUR TASTE.

    If you prefer strawberry versus ube ice cream, you don’t need to give reasons to justify why you prefer strawberry. You just like it… That’s your taste-preference.

    But for the Parliamentary versus Presidential System, you are clearly choosing the Presidential System OVER the Parliamentary System.

    Now we all need to hear your updated REASONS WHY. We need to see you write down point-by-point your justifications and explanations that prove the correctness of your decision to choose the PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM over the Parliamentary System.

    If I ask you “Do you now like the Parliamentary System”, you can’t just say “NO” and then shrug it off as a matter of TASTE and PREFERENCE. You can’t just think this is a matter of opinion.

    You have to prove to everyone that you have a solid and sound BASIS for why you chose the Presidential System OVER the Parliamentary System, especially in view of the clear evidence that I have presented in favor of the Parliamentary System, and in light of the fact that I HAVE PROVEN THAT YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO SYSTEMS IS EXTREMELY DEFICIENT.

    I have proven that you don’t know how the Parliamentary System works, and it is clear to everyone that your choice of the Presidential System is flawed.

    But you have the right to explain WHY.

    Please, Manolo, tell us in point-by-point detailed fashion WHY YOU THINK THE PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM is superior to the Parliamentary System.

    It’s a good exercise in problem-solving, Manolo. Don’t just say NO. EXPLAIN!

    your mentor,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  5. Dr. José Rizal II

    Manuel,

    The problem here is you don’t see that the bigger issue with the Philippines is the problem of the constant danger of stupid idiots becoming President because of the simple fact that the current Philippine Presidential System based on the 1987 Cory Constitution favors it.

    Have you stopped to consider that the 1987 Cory Constitution prescribed a Presidential System where:

    1. because there are more than two parties and therefore more than two candidates running for president, the vote gets divided in multiple ways

    2. due to number 1, the chances are very high that the candidate winning the highest number of votes merely gets a weak plurality rather than an absolute majority (more than 50%) and therefore the winning candidate ends up as a MINORITY PRESIDENT

    3. because of 1 and 2 and because the 1987 Cory Constitution did not provide for a run-off election, the candidate with the highest chances of winning is the candidate who has a solid popularity base among the masses most often resulting from widespread fame, popularity, and name-recall, thus favoring people with well-known family names and/or people from SHOWBIZ BACKGROUNDS.

    As such, actors, celebrities, and people whose parents were former presidents or come from famous political families (people with name recall) have higher chances of winning as President than people who are simply just competent and results-oriented. Competence is of less importance to “winnability.”

    Worse, whoever emerges as the winner is a Minority President, who will often have more people opposing them because more people will say “I never voted for the President”, thereby leading to the susceptibility of the PRESS to take advantage of such anti-incumbent sentiments (resulting from his/her minority status) so that the Press panders to the public with anti-incumbent articles, commentaries, and news.

    * * *

    In short, the current Philippine Presidential System prescribed by the 1987 Cory Constitution which Manolo prefers, is characterized by failure, internal opposition, disaster, inefficiency, waste, and a lot of other negativity.

    Truth be told, while a Parliamentary System may not be entirely PERFECT, a Parliamentary System will DEFINITELY STILL WORK BETTER than that monstrosity which Manolo stupidly prefers which is the current Philippine Presidential System based on the 1987 Cory Constitution.

    Oh, and did you notice that there is patronage in today’s system?

    In the end, the most important thing to note is that there is LESS NEED for a Prime Minister to use patronage on his own party-mates and coalition-mates in order to get things done. However, in a Presidential System, a President NEEDS to use the pork barrel system as an incentive in order to ensure the cooperation of legislators just to get things done because – you guessed – in the Presidential System, the EXECUTIVE and the LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES ARE SEPARATE.

    Since in the Parliamentary System, they are fused together and there is no distinction between the two branches, there is FAR LESS NEED to use patronage in the form of pork barrel politics.

    Certainly, in Malaysia (where I have lived and obviously you haven’t because you can’t even spell “Barisan Nasional” correctly. Dude, “nacional” is Spanish!), they do build proper coalitions in order to maintain a majority as do many other Parliamentary countries (big deal, Manuel!), but have you even looked at the fact that Parliamentary democracies have less operational expenses, less wastage, and LESS INCIDENCES OF CORRUPTION than countries using the Presidential System?

    (Is it any wonder that countries using the Parliamentary System often fare better – on average – than countries using a Presidential System? Take note that only the USA is the one and only country that uses a Presidential System to have never experienced an interruption in democratic practice, be it a military coup or a shift from one form to another, whereas majority of the countries who’ve used a Parliamentary System have never experienced such a break. Read up on JUAN LINZ, PhD: The Perils of Presidentialism… it’s on the internet, for free!)

    Also you fail to see that in comparing the dynamics of the Presidential versus the Parliamentary, you simply resorted to idealistic rhetoric in order to state your point.

    You said: “The problem with a party system is party members end up putting the party before the country. And in a presidential system the danger is the leader putting himself before the country. However, at the end of the day it’s easier to deal with one person than a gang.”

    Obviously you aren’t a systems person and you’ve never really analyzed it properly.

    Firstly, within the Presidential System, even a President can’t do his job alone (unless he/she is a military dictator with a military that helps him out). A President still needs to get the legislature doing what he/she needs it to do in order to complement his/her executive plans and actions. So in that respect, a President – especially a MINORITY PRESIDENT – is AT THE MERCY of the legislature’s support. A President will need to coax the members of the majority in the legislature WHO MAY or MAY NOT be from the President’s same party otherwise he/she won’t get anything done.

    But in a Parliamentary System, since the Prime Minister is THE LEADER of the majority bloc within the Parliament, he/she can be more capable of getting things done THROUGH HIS/HER PARTY who holds the majority.

    Your mention of it “being easier to deal with one person than with a gang” is bollocks because a President within a Presidential System CANNOT DO THINGS ALONE (and will therefore have NO CHOICE but to use patronage in getting the legislature to cooperate with him/her), while a Prime Minister within a Parliamentary System ALREADY HAS THE SUPPORT OF HIS PARTY/COALITION in getting things done.

    Check your facts, Manuel. Better yet, CHECK YOUR BRAIN! 😉

    your mentor,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  6. Lead Philippines

    It is nice to see real discussions here on Presidential versus Parliamentary system. I hope MLQ3 can post a whole new article on this so that it can include the arguments posted by JR2.

    I think Pinoys feel that a Parliamentary system might make it easier for a dictator to be in power and perpetuate himself at it. Is this fear valid, MLQ3, JR2?

  7. ramrod

    Dr. Joe,

    Nah, for me intelligence is nothing if you don’t have a fat bank account. You’re the one who’s full of bollocks.
    I don’t agree with Manolo most of the time, but at least I’m pretty sure he has more credibility than you.
    I’m not telling you off, I’m telling to get off, go away, stop irritating real people and finally give us the link to your blog where you can pontificate on parliamentary system all you want…or you just want to show everyone your debating prowess? tsk, tsk, tsk, didn’t your mother give you enough attention when you were a baby? ooops, maybe you’re one of those abandoned in the sewers and was adopted by rats – I smelled one earlier, hmmmm a big, overfed, Luli rat(?)

  8. thecusponline

    DJRII (and his detractors)

    There are problems in a fractious polity like the Philippines which make changing the system of government fraught with difficulties. So even assuming that a move to a parliamentary form of govt would benefit the country in the long run, there are serious issues to traverse such as:

    1. Status quo bias. People feel more comfortable with the familiar, especially those who benefit from the status quo, ie the incumbents both nationally and locally. They will try to maximise concessions to compensate them for their potential loss of privilege.

    2. Present bias. The cost of transitions could be immense. Even if we assume these will be offset in the long run, people would prefer a less efficient system to a more efficient one, if significant costs are in place. This bias prevents people from envisioning an alternate reality and that creates resistance to change.

    3. Transition costs. The shift would entail costly political and economic risks, like investors adopting a wait and see stance, and administrative costs, such as funding a Con-Con/Con-Ass (given the alternate use of such funds). This could prevent the country from recovering fully from the current economic crisis. Other groups might take advantage of the uncertainty, etc.

    These are but a few that I can think off the top of my head. That is why, even if in theory a shift would benefit the nation, it is still subject to the constraints posed by our current political economy.

    Perhaps we should be asking what less contentious improvements to the current arrangements are needed that are more feasible under our fractious society that would improve the selection of our leaders/representatives and the enforcement mechanisms required for that.

  9. Dr. José Rizal II

    Lead Phil,

    I believe the problem that makes Filipinos think that the “Parliamentary system might make it easier for a dictator to be in power and perpetuate himself at it” are these two facts that Filipinos do not understand:

    1. The Prime Minister does not have term limits

    As long as his party continues to keep him/her as the party leader and as long as the party continues to have a majority of all parliamentary seats, and as long as the Prime Minister does not retire, voluntarily step down, or get ousted by a vote of no confidence, then the Prime Minister remains the same.

    2. Countries like Singapore (LKY), Malaysia (Mahathir), the UK (under Thatcher) had long serving leaders.

    Essentially, the problem again is because Filipinos are too biased towards the current US-inspired Philippine Presidential System. It is an inherent feature of the Presidential System (any style – US version or whatever) that the focus of the public is on THE PRESIDENT (on a single individual person), and not on a party or coalition.

    The problem thus is that MOST FILIPINOS still haven’t shifted their mindset (nor are they even open-minded enough to try) to understand that the Parliamentary System is a PARTY-centric system as opposed to a “Person-centric” one.

    As such, what actually matters in a Parliamentary System is not WHO IS THE PRIME MINISTER, but rather, WHAT PARTY CURRENTLY HAS MAJORITY?

    As is obvious, because of the “Person-centric” perspective on political systems that Filipinos are stuck with, any mention that the “Head of Government” can serve indefinitely makes them scream “dictatorship!” Of course, to those people who live in a countries that use a Parliamentary System, the only real reasons that a Prime Minister continues to stay in office are the following:

    a. The Party to which the PM belongs continues TO DELIVER POSITIVE RESULTS, so that majority of the people in a majority of the districts continue to vote for the Party

    b. The Prime Minister continues to enjoy the support of his/her own party mates as leader of his own party. Oftentimes, this is because party members continue to keep the party leader if he continues to lead his/her party well.

    c. The Prime Minister does not resign/step down, get ousted, die.

    In short, the real situation is that the Parliament continues to be dominated NOT BY THE SAME PERSON, but rather “Parliament continues to have a majority of its seats HELD BY THE SAME PARTY.” Whoever is the leader of the Party is secondary to having the party achieve majority.

    Moreover, the only real way for a Party or coalition (and thus a Prime Minister) to continue serving uninterrupted is for the PARTY (or coalition) to deliver results that more than satisfy the electorate. If the Party does not deliver, then the dissatisfied constituencies will elect another party. If after counting the seats, the Party no longer gets the majority, then the Prime Minister has to give way to the new head of the party.

    Look at Britain: John Major led the Conservative Party of the UK after taking over from Margaret Thatcher (also a Conservative) who retired from politics. While John Major was the Prime Minister, Tony Blair was the leader of the Labour Party, and as such was the Leader of the Opposition. Later on, there was dissatisfaction with the Conservative Party’s policies so that the Labour Party campaigned that they would provide better results than the Conservatives and eventually, the Labour Party won and Tony Blair became the Prime Minister. After so many years, Tony Blair then decided to resign from politics and thus made his successor, Gordon Brown, take on the post of “Leader of the Labour Party” which automatically made Gordon Brown the NEW British Prime Minister.

    Let’s look not at the personalities here…

    Thatcher, Conservative
    Major, Conservative

    Blair, Labour
    Brown, Labour

    Therefore, the underlying real change in electoral sentiment DOES NOT OCCUR when Thatcher retires and Major takes over. The real shift in sentiment occurs when the Conservative Party lost its majority under Major, and in its place, the Labour Party now took Majority, thus installing Blair. And when Blair decided to retire from politics (and thus allow him to openly declare his intention to do what he had always wanted to do: Convert into Roman Catholicism, which he felt he couldn’t do as PM), Brown took over.

    Let’s not look at the personalities involved. Let’s look at the PARTIES.

    Conversely, in Japan, the PM keeps changing. Hardly anyone in the Philippines, however, seems to notice that it’s normally only the PM that changes, BUT NOT THE PARTY.

    For a long time, the Liberal Democratic Party was in power. Despite that, the Party Leader kept changing – having some sort of “round robbin” among old LDP members. The LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY of Japan continued to be in power since 1955 all the way to the VERY FIRST TIME IT GOT ELECTORALLY DEFEATED and lost its majority in 2009.

    Only in 2009 did another party – the “Democratic Party of Japan” take power.

    Some Filipinos who didn’t understand the Parliamentary System would often point to Japan as their “example” of an unstable system. However, what those nitwits don’t understand is that the real dynamics is in the PARTY, not the PM. The real story is how the LDP continued to be in power for so long.

    Besides, Japan’s standard of living continues to be among the best in the World, while save for the USA and France, majority of the countries that are seen as being “in the rubbish bin” use the Presidential System – such as the Philippines and all failed states in Latin America.

    The top economies of ASEAN happen to be Parliamentary Democracies (Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand) and it is clear that the Parliamentary System enables LONG TERM PLANS to be pursued by parties, unlike in a Presidential System where most of the time, the plans of one President die with the President’s term even if his successor is from the same party…

    The Philippines needs to have a system that allows long term plans to be pursued. Reforming the country to become a First World Country is a result of UNINTERRUPTED POSITIVE RESULTS coming from good long term planning pursued by a party in power. You can’t have that within the current Philippine Presidential System based on the 1987 Cory Constitution.

    Some people will say we need a “dictatorship” where the leader continues on as a kind of absolute leader with no term limits.

    But why do that when it is possible to democratically pursue long term plans in an uninterrupted fashion UNDER A PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM? Ultimately, the only way that a party can retain its majority and hence its leader can continue on as PM is for the PARTY (and the PM) to continue to deliver positive results so that come election time, the electorate decides to keep the same party/coalition in the majority.

    In other words, the ability for high-performance Prime Ministers to stay on in power for a very long time does not mean that the Parliamentary System allows dictatorships to occur. The reality is that the Parliamentary System allows STRONG LEADERS who become PM to continue delivering STRONG RESULTS as long as their STRONG RESULTS are in line with benefiting the people. Failure to deliver good results can mean losing the party’s majority or it can mean getting ousted by his/her own party from his/her own leadership position within his/her party.

    hope this helps,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  10. Dr. José Rizal II

    ramrod,

    Are ad hominems the only arguments you are capable of coming up with?

    Please join in the discussion properly by coming up with real intelligent, logical, and factual responses, not stupid wisecracks and insults.

    If you can’t contribute to the discussion, then don’t join in with your insults, ok? Same goes to the other Manolo alternicks.

    Manolo, where’s the EXPLANATION to your “NO.” You need to explain WHY you say “No.”

    con afecto,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  11. Ka Ryan

    Intriguingly how does your viewpoint fit in into
    a.electoral fraud
    b. localized feudal bossism
    c. the possibibily that Arroyo might just well become the next PM if your idea comes to fruit

  12. ramrod

    Witch Doctor,

    “No” is a bit polite. I would prefer saying “FUCK OFF!” to your face!

  13. manuel

    Dr Joe,

    “In the end, the most important thing to note is that there is LESS NEED for a Prime Minister to use patronage on his own party-mates and coalition-mates in order to get things done.”

    Silly. ALL politics is about compromise, about GIVE AND TAKE. Besides like I said, how many parliaments have only two parties? Kaya nga isang tambak ang colations bago maka elect ng prime minister. That is the answer to your minority president straw man. Parliamentary governments are formed through coalitions because there are many political parties and no one ever gets an absolute majority.

    I lived in Kuala Lumpur for six years. And the corruption there makes the Philippines look clean. And corruption there is easier because you deal with the cabinet minister who gets the approval of the PM. Just look at that elevated highway going past Batu Caves. Completed in record time and showed cracks in its support pillars in record time as well. What do you mean “less operational expenses, less wastage, and LESS INCIDENCES OF CORRUPTION than countries using the Presidential System”

    “But in a Parliamentary System, since the Prime Minister is THE LEADER of the majority bloc within the Parliament, he/she can be more capable of getting things done THROUGH HIS/HER PARTY who holds the majority.”

    Silly. The PM has to seek and maintain the support of the coalition otherwise he is out of a job. So everything he does has to get the support of the coalition. That is not much different than a presidential system.

    Idiot.

  14. manuel

    Dr Joe,

    “As such, what actually matters in a Parliamentary System is not WHO IS THE PRIME MINISTER, but rather, WHAT PARTY CURRENTLY HAS MAJORITY?”

    Bullshit. There are intense intra party struggles over who becomes PM. And even when a PM is chosen the in-fighting goes on. That’s why Tony Blair was deposed by Gordon Brown and Badawi was deposed by Razak. Additionally, you know the PM or party leader calls the shots within his party because he has the majority. So yes it matters who the PM is. Look at Malaysia from Mahathir to Badawi to Razak, it has changed accordingly.

    You describe the parliamentary system like it was a silver bullet.That my dear boy is called idealistic rhetoric.

    You see it is the software (people) more than the hardware (political system) that really matters. Good people can make a go out of a faulty system but a good system will never get going if you have bad people running it,

    To use another analogy, you may have a Ferrari but if you have a money at the wheel you know it;s going to crash.

    Go back to your online textbooks.

  15. manuel

    Dr Joe,

    “Some Filipinos who didn’t understand the Parliamentary System would often point to Japan as their “example” of an unstable system. However, what those nitwits don’t understand is that the real dynamics is in the PARTY, not the PM. The real story is how the LDP continued to be in power for so long.”

    That’s called pigs taking turns at the trough.

  16. Victoria

    Ramrod

    No is not polite. It only shows how dense Manolo is and how he can not answer questions that were raised to him by Dr. Jose Rizal II.

  17. Dr. José Rizal II

    Manuel,

    Read my responses to your responses:

    You said:

    “Silly. ALL politics is about compromise, about GIVE AND TAKE. Besides like I said, how many parliaments have only two parties? Kaya nga isang tambak ang colations bago maka elect ng prime minister. That is the answer to your minority president straw man. Parliamentary governments are formed through coalitions because there are many political parties and no one ever gets an absolute majority.”

    I say:

    Ok, so politics everywhere and in all systems is about compromise and “give and take”, but did you care to compare the results of countries that use presidential systems compared to the results of countries that use parliamentary systems? The ones using parliamentary systems – generally speaking – fare better and are more successful, while most which use a Presidential System – found in Latin America and Africa – are dysfunctional.

    In the end, while there is always going to be the exercise of compromise everywhere you go – including companies, families, and in the Catholic Church (or any religious hierarchy for that matter), the key thing that you have failed to notice is that the Presidential System present in the Philippines has it really bad.

    Shifting to a Parliamentary System – at the very least – means that either the horse trading (and the waste of money on largesse) done in the current Philippine Presidential System LESSENS or the country simply becomes more successful economically and in all other ways.

    You said “elect ng prime minister” – Do you know how a parliamentary system works? A prime minister, technically speaking, is not “elected.”

    * * *

    You said:

    “I lived in Kuala Lumpur for six years. And the corruption there makes the Philippines look clean. And corruption there is easier because you deal with the cabinet minister who gets the approval of the PM. Just look at that elevated highway going past Batu Caves. Completed in record time and showed cracks in its support pillars in record time as well. What do you mean “less operational expenses, less wastage, and LESS INCIDENCES OF CORRUPTION than countries using the Presidential System”

    I say:

    Thank you for actually strengthening my position. 😉 In other forums (not this one), I have argued that Corruption per se is not a real reason for why the Philippines sucks. In such discussions, I had mentioned the fact that several other countries that are much more successful than the Philippines such as South Korea, Taiwan, China, and even Malaysia have (or perhaps in the past used to have) levels of corruption that are or were much much higher than in the Philippines.

    What you just said about Malaysia’s corruption making the Philippines look clean actually helps my cause in proving that Corruption per se is not the cause of a Country’s failure. (In fact, LAZINESS and lack of Economic Focus actually is)

    Now, that being said, the thing you completely FAIL to recognize is that, objectively speaking, Malaysia still happens to be – together with Singapore – one of the top two dynamic economies in the ASEAN region, whose citizens can freely travel to the EU without requiring visas.

    Why is this so? Because quite clearly, Malaysia – for all its imperfections – is seen by the rest of the world as a relatively well-functioning country. Companies invest in Malaysia or set up their regional headquarters or operations there MORE than in the Philippines.

    The plain and simple objective fact, Manuel, is that Malaysia’s government (a parliament) is actually able to ACHIEVE MORE SUCCESSES than the Philippines has.

    Kahit paano mo bali-baligtarin, Manuel, Malaysia is much much more successful country than the Philippines. So you know what? Malaysia may not be perfect (no country is), but it is still obviously way way better than the Philippines.

    And once again, you fail to see that while the Philippine elections always features the danger that a stupid idiot like Erap, FPJ, or Noynoy could become president, Malaysia’s parliamentary system prevents such types of people who enjoy celebrity status (and have no real qualifications nor competence in leadership and governance) from ever leading the country.

    Your problem, Manuel, is that while the Parliamentary System is not perfect, you FAIL to recognize that it is still way better than the current Philippine Presidential System based on the 1987 Cory Constitution.

    My question for you, therefore is: Do you really think that the current Philippine Presidential System based on the 1987 Cory Constitution which easily allows airhead celebrities who merely have popularity or a name to WIN and become President is worth keeping in the Philippines, despite the obvious problems and INTERNATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT (Erap) that it has caused?

    * * *

    You said:

    “Silly. The PM has to seek and maintain the support of the coalition otherwise he is out of a job. So everything he does has to get the support of the coalition. That is not much different than a presidential system.”

    I say:

    You once again fail to see the real difference between the systems.

    In the Presidential System, the separation of powers concept means that it is completely possible for a President to come from one party and the legislature’s majority could be a completely different party or coalition. In such a situation, giving out largesse and concessions becomes even greater because of the desperate need of the President (who comes from a different party from the majority in the legislature) to get the legislature to help him/her out in crafting supporting legislation for his/her policies and programs.

    In the Parliamentary System, at the very least, the Prime Minister is necessarily he/she who is the LEADER OF THE COALITION in a coalition-based majority. While the Prime Minister will not find it easy to get his own party’s way, thus moderating his/her policies and decisions so that they get the approval of the overall coalition, the point is that there is LESS NEED to give them largesse as in a Presidential System where the President is NOT a member of the Legislature.

    An outsider asking a group of people to do something for him will always need to give concessions and “rewards” for them to do it. But a formal coalition, while not perhaps being as “tightly-knit” as a PARTY, is still a grouping of people who have decided to come together and have thus all become members of the same team. The Prime Minister, in a Parliamentary System is thus NECESSARILY PART OF and the LEADER OF that same team, rather than an outsider. As such, while he may still give out “rewards” for cooperation, there is less need to do so as compared to the scenario of the Presidential System.

    It has occurred to me that you haven’t really done a serious COMPARISON between the two systems. What I see you doing is trying to say “Well, the Parliamentary System is the same as the Presidential System so why should we shift?”, yet you FAIL to see the actual areas where they clearly differ and thus you are unable to see where the real faults of the Presidential System are as compared to where the advantages and positive points of the Parliamentary System are.

    * * * *

    You said:

    “Bullshit. There are intense intra party struggles over who becomes PM. And even when a PM is chosen the in-fighting goes on. That’s why Tony Blair was deposed by Gordon Brown and Badawi was deposed by Razak. Additionally, you know the PM or party leader calls the shots within his party because he has the majority. So yes it matters who the PM is. Look at Malaysia from Mahathir to Badawi to Razak, it has changed accordingly.”

    I say:

    Thank you for giving me more ammunition, Manuel. Heck, you’re winning this debate for me, because what you just said actually proves my point! 😉

    You just illustrated the Darwinian nature of the Parliamentary System’s “intra-party” dynamics, where even within the party, different people who are comrades are constantly competing against each other to REACH THE TOP post within their Party.

    As such, you have actually proven why weak-minded, LOW QUALITY people like Erap, FPJ, or even Noynoy the Ignoy Abnoy WILL NEVER ASCEND to the top leadership of their own parties and will thus NEVER HAVE THE CHANCE TO BECOME PRIME MINISTER.

    You do understand how the intra-party struggles work, don’t you? The only people who can ascend to the top of their own parties are those people who can demonstrate to their party mates that they are suitable, qualified, and competent to lead their party. Losers like Noynoy the Ignoy Abnoy who can’t even get their few bills passed into Law would never even FIGURE in such intra-party struggles because they’d be so weak, timid, and unable to put up a good fight. Even today’s Liberal Party never made Noynoy the Ignoy Abnoy the Leader of the Liberal Party. Why? Because they all know is incapable. They merely made him Presidential Candidate because the electoral system in the Philippine Presidential System favors popularity, celebrity, cult-status, and name-recall, which are the very things that Noynoy the Ignoy Abnoy is riding on. Worse, he’s riding not on his own popularity, celebrity/cult-status, and name-recall but ON THAT OF HIS PARENTS’!

    So, Manuel, thanks again for making me win the debate by giving me more ammunition.

    The stuff you said ONLY PROVES MY POINT: The Parliamentary System’s party-centric dynamics means that intra-party competition SCREENS OUT lousy losers from ever reaching the Party Leadership and hence prevents such losers and under-achievers from ever becoming Prime Minister if the Party (or coalition) wins majority.

    * * * *

    You said:

    “You describe the parliamentary system like it was a silver bullet.That my dear boy is called idealistic rhetoric.”

    I say:

    Not really, Manuel. I never said that the introduction of the Parliamentary System automatically means the instantaneously miraculous eradication of Hunger and the immediate reign of World Peace.

    All I’ve said very clearly is that if you compare the current ROTTEN and FAULTY Presidential System of the Philippines (based on the 1987 Cory Constitution) against the Parliamentary System, the algorithm of how the Parliamentary System is way better.

    This is not about absolutes, Manuel. This is about making relative comparisions. It’s about how one system is RELATIVELY BETTER than the other.

    For me, the rottenness of the current Presidential System of the Philippines which gives undue electoral advantage to idiotic airheads like Erap, threatened to give us another bozo like FPJ, and currently threatens to give us the simpleminded underachiever Noynoy the Ignoy Abnoy, makes it imperative that we Filipinos decide to change the system into one which actively PREVENTS people who are merely popular but have no competence from actually becoming the Head of Government.

    Let me ask you again, Manuel: Are you actually ok with having stupid airheads who have no competence become the Head of Government in the Philippines just as we did back in 1998?

    Or don’t you think it is high time we Filipinos decided to choose a system that only gets COMPETENT and SERIOUS people in the highest office of the land?

    The Parliamentary System, which is not perfect but is BETTER than the Presidential System is such a system.

    Like it or not, your very own arguments have proven my point that the Parliamentary System IS BETTER. 🙂

    * * * *

    You said:

    “You see it is the software (people) more than the hardware (political system) that really matters. Good people can make a go out of a faulty system but a good system will never get going if you have bad people running it,”

    To use another analogy, you may have a Ferrari but if you have a money at the wheel you know it;s going to crash.”

    I say:

    There you go again, Manuel. 😉 You’re totally helping me win over you in this debate.

    I have argued quite clearly that the Philippines needs needs to have good leaders. Do you call Erap a good leader? Was FPJ (who almost could have become President) someone who would have been a good leader? Is Noynoy the Ignoy Abnoy someone who can become a good leader?

    It’s obvious that all those three are losers. But Erap won in 1998. FPJ ALMOST WON in 2004. And Noynoy the Ignoy Abnoy currently leads the surveys for 2010 even if he is totally unsuitable. But because of the current Philippine Presidential System, these losers can put up a fight and even win – as in Erap’s case!

    You yourself in the above statements claim that we need to have Good People (meaning people who can objectively produce results in line with improving the Philippines and improving Filipinos’ lives).

    Well, get ready to hear this, Manuel, but in order to have Good People, we need to have a system in place that ensures that unqualified and INCOMPETENT airheads who merely have popularity going for them are SCREENED OUT and rendered unable to get selected to lead the Philippines.

    Now correct me if I am wrong, but it appears to me that you are sensible enough to admit that Erap was a lousy president who was totally unfit to lead the Philippines, but he won in 1998 because the Presidential System based on the 1987 Cory Constitution did not SCREEN HIM OUT.

    Won’t you agree with me, thus, that it is therefore imperative that the System be changed so as to prevent unsuitable people like Erap from becoming the top leader in the Philippines?

    Because if you agree with me on that, and I know that deep down you do, then all I’ve been saying here is that ERAP and FPJ-types do not have any chance whatsoever of becoming Prime Minister within a Parliamentary System. 😉

    You see? Now you find yourself agreeing, don’t you? 🙂

    * * * *

    In short, Manuel, rather than take things personally against geniuses like me, why don’t you just sit back, relax, and analyze things objectively?

    What you need to realize is that the Philippines NEEDS GOOD LEADERS and in order to ensure that the Philippines has good leaders and does not end up with rotten lemons, the Philippines needs to change its system from the current one which allows rotten lemons like ERAP to win, and shift over to a new and better system (and no system is perfect, there are only BETTER systems) that prevents rotten lemons from winning and ensures that only the best types of leaders emerge.

    The objective analyses and comparisons show that the Parliamentary System is a BETTER SYSTEM than the one we currently have in place which was set up by the 1987 Cory Constitution.

    Now, unless you have a better suggestion than the Parliamentary System, are you going to argue that the current rotten, lousy, faulty Philippine Presidential System based on the 1987 Cory Constitution is the best system for the Philippines and should remain?

    (Now that would be nuts, wouldn’t it?)

    your genius friend,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  18. manuel

    Dr Joe

    The presidential system with three co-equal branches of government acting as check and balance on each other is the best system there is.

    The parliamentary system has no safeguards thus not only does it give too much power to the ruling coalition, it also relies too much on the goodness of those in public office.

    So a system where checks and balances are institutionalized is infinitely better than your polyanna parliamentary system.

    Only an idiot would believe that a dressing a monkey in a suit will turn it into a gentleman. That is the essence of your arguments for the parliamentary system. Go munch on a banana.

  19. Dr. José Rizal II

    Manuel,

    A majority of the PhD Political Science Professors from the Ivy League in the USA as well as in some of the most prestigious universities in the world DISAGREE WITH YOU.

    The Presidential System with “three co-equal branches of government acting as check and balance on each other” only SEEMS to be the best ON PAPER. That means that conceptually, it seems sound, but in practice, it has been more disastrous when compared to the Parliamentary System whose executive and legislative branches are fused.

    If you were to go to any Ivy League political science department and asked the PhD’s there which of the two systems was better, you’d hear them unanimously say “Based on all the evidence out there in the Real World, the Parliamentary System is better!”

    This is the real point, Manuel: You have no consideration whatsoever for the real world, and you don’t care to analyze and compare the two systems objectively.

    And, you are the type of person who merely prefers idealized
    Theory, but has nothing on Practical stuff. Worse, you’re not even really good at understanding Theory because you’re merely stuck at taking the press release of that theory at face value, but you haven’t thought of looking at all the different situations such as what happens when The Executive and the Legislative are coming from different persuasions and are at odds with each other? Rather than easily getting results, the overall government is in a state of gridlock.

    Here are two examples of the consensus of the REAL EXPERTS on Political Science, boy:

    1. http://sws.bu.edu/jgerring/documents/Corruption.pdf
    (This paper shows that Parliamentary Systems are better because they are more efficient and are less prone to corruption)

    2. http://www.american.edu/ia/cdem/pdfs/linz_perils_presidencialism.pdf

    (This is the famous work of Yale Political Science Professor

    Dr. Juan Linz, PhD, whose life’s work is to go in detail in comparing the two systems. The result of his work was to arrive at the conclusion that the Parliamentary System is inherently BETTER IN REAL WORLD PRACTICE)

    In the end, the real proof of the pudding is in the eating, right?

    So I ask you this: Why is it that among all the countries that currently use the Presidential System, ONLY THE USA has been the one and only country to have had an uninterrupted and continued use of the Presidential System without breaking down into a military dictatorship or getting disrupted by authoritarian rule, while all other countries that have tried or are currently under a Presidential form of government have all broken down into military dictatorships or ended up in authoritarian rule at one time or another?

    More importantly, why is it that out of the richest and most financially successful democratic countries in the First World, the vast majority of them use Parliamentary Systems (only the USA and France are the only two first world countries using Presidential Systems), while majority that use Presidential Systems are in the bottom rung esp. in Africa and Latin America?

    Perhaps you’d also want to look at this, save for dictatorially-run countries with the right economic policies, why is it that most of the best-performing countries in the THIRD WORLD are Parliamentary democracies, as compared to those using a Presidential system?

    You might want to re-think your obvious INFATUATION and LOVE for the Presidential System, because while ON PAPER the Presidential System claims to institutionalize checks and balances, MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, what separation of powers actually does is to create GRIDLOCK, STAGNATION, and inability to move forward, or at best, cause decision-making to move extremely slowly.

    In fact, the use of term-limits often means that even high-performing presidents (presidents who did well on the economic scene) in a Presidential System are disallowed from continuing on in office in order to continue implementing their long-term economy-focused plans, and must give way and oftentimes, the new president who takes over (even if he’s from the same party) tries to come up with NEW PLANS thereby disrupting the old plans. Guess what, Manuel, “third world” developing countries need a minimum of 30 years to move up the ladder towards achieving developed country status. Unless you have a dictatorial president or get rid of term limits (in a presidential system, that is unlikely), the best way of having continuous rule in order to have the consistent implementation of long-term plans is through a Parliamentary System – provided the ruling Party/coalition and the PM continue to deliver
    spectacular results and remain in power.

    Worse, in Presidential Systems like the Philippines’ where there is a multi-party system WITHOUT run-offs, the current Presidential System has consistently created MINORITY PRESIDENTS who do not have a majority mandate because the vote gets too divided among other Presidential candidates so that even if they win the election, they have more detractors than supporters.

    Even worse than that, the current Philippine Presidential System set up by the 1987 Cory Constitution allows unqualified but popular celebrities to run for office and even possibly win, thereby giving the Philippines lousy Presidents – such as ERAP.

    * * *

    Now, Manuel, insults aside, maybe you can answer my questions honestly:

    1. Do you really think that the current Philippine Presidential System based on the 1987 Cory Constitution is SUPERIOR to the Parliamentary System, considering that the current system gave us AIRHEAD IDIOTS like ERAP, threatened to give us FPJ, and currently threatens to give us another airhead named Noynoy the Ignoy Abnoy?

    2. Which do you love more? The Filipino People or the current Philippine Presidential System?

    Based on number 2, you need to realize that all you’ve shown on this comment board is that you love the current Philippine Presidential System (prescribed by the 1987 Constitution) WAY WAY WAY MORE than you love the Filipino People. Because if you truly loved the Filipino people more, you wouldn’t care much about the system and instead you’d care more about what system, objectively speaking, IS MORE LIKELY TO PROVIDE BETTER RESULTS in improving the Filipino People’s lives.

    You know what? I used to a proponent of the Presidential System too! But after intensive study and making detailed comparisons between the two because I sincerely wanted to find out which was the system to best serve the interests of the Filipino People, the evidence pointed towards the Parliamentary System as being the far better one. It’s not perfect as no man-made system ever is (heck, even nature isn’t always perfect either), but this is simply about comparing two man-made systems and finding out which one is objectively better.

    Again, my word of advice, Manuel:

    1. Don’t be fooled by the theory. The Presidential System does indeed claim that a separation of powers provides a good check and balance, but the reality of it all is that the separation of the executive and legislative has often meant stalemates and gridlock, which third world countries that want to move up cannot afford to have. Likewise, who ever said that separating the exec and legis branches is the ONLY WAY to have Checks and Balance? Guess what, Manuel, within Parliament, the Majority (admininstration party/coalition) is checked and balanced by the Minority party on a day-to-day basis, and the entire Parliament is, after all, checked and balanced by the electorate which votes every so often, re-electing the ruling party if it continues to deliver and booting it out by electing its opponents if it fails to deliver. Now that’s a CHECK and BALANCE, isn’t it?

    2. Look at reality, and please observe the two systems and the countries that use them in much greater detail. If you do this, you will, as I did, come to the objective conclusion that the Presidential System we currently have in the Philippines is a FAILURE and that we need to change it.

    I love the Philippines and the Filipino People more than the system, Manuel. For me, the system is just a tool meant to help the Filipino People meet their needs and achieve their goals.

    You should drop your infatuation and fixation on the current Philippine Presidential System simply because it is proven to be faulty, lousy, slow, expensive, allows idiots to win elections, and has had a dismal record in allowing our country to truly succeed. As such, if you can decide that you love the Filipino People MORE than you love the current Phil. Pres. System, then you can become more open to alternative solutions that can truly benefit us all.

    Love the Filipino People more, not the current Presidential System, Manuel.

    your genius friend,

    Dr. José Rizal II

  20. Dr. José Rizal II

    If the Nigerians can think about shifting from Presidential to Parliamentary in a very logical and objective “pros-versus-cons” manner, why can’t Filipinos do it?

    Are Filipinos stupid and over-emotional? I hope not. But we have to prove to the world that we are capable of thinking objectively and not being “in love with a system” and instead be more in-love with the Pursuit of the People’s Welfare and Well-being. The System’s just a tool, the RESULT is what we’re after. So we just need to choose the BEST SYSTEM and obviously, based on all the evidence and the results, the Presidential System (based on the 1987 Constitution) which we currently have is NOT THE BEST.

    Read this article from a local Nigerian paper:

    http://allafrica.com/stories/200808050596.html

    Lagos — In a recent newspaper interview, the renowned elder-statesman and former Federal Minister of Information, Chief Anthony Enahoro, revisited the age long debate in the country on the suitability or otherwise of either presidential or parliamentary system of governance for the Nigerian condition.

    His pronouncement could not have come at a better time than now when the Yar’Adua-led Federal Government has demonstrated its resolve to undertake electoral and political reforms with a view to strengthening our democracy.

    On assumption of office on May 29, 2007, President Yar’Adua had acknowledged that the 2007 General elections which brought him and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to power were generally flawed. He promised to set up a panel that would look into the issue and make recommendations to government accordingly.

    Shortly after, the President, in keeping with his pledge, set up an Electoral Reform Committee, consisting of many eminent Nigerians and chaired by the former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais with the mandate to carry out thorough studies and make appropriate recommendations. That committee should, about now, be putting its report together after holding public hearings in all the six geo-political zones of the country to obtain the inputs of the citizenry.

    Enahoro, who was a major actor in the First Republic when the country operated the Parliamentary system of government, in the said interview, expressed preference for the parliamentary model over the presidential system which we currently operate with very strong reasons.

    His words: “I studied that system (parliamentary) at its best and also studied the other system (presidential) in the United States for some months and I think that basically the parliamentary system is superior. That is my judgment any way; having seen them both at work in foreign countries, I don’t think it is an accident that if people are fed up with a Prime Minister, the head of government in England or other places where it is practiced, they vote against him and throw him out, but if you are really fed up with a President in the United States, you kill him, that is what they do, so all those are things we must bear in mind”.

    He continued: ” the Prime Minister is answerable every day; he goes to that place (parliament) and issues will be raised and he responds, but the other man (President), no, he doesn’t even go there (parliament). Look at what we just passed through under Obasanjo; anytime he visited the House, he could not be subjected to any questioning. Then, how do you now ask somebody to be accountable for what he does? Even a Minister here is not a Member of the House, so, where will you ask him and who is going to ask him? I think it is wrong. I don’t think the presidential system is very suitable for us”.

    In matters like the one under discussion, the views of Chief Enahoro can hardly be ignored. Having seen both systems in operation both at home and abroad, and having also been a key player in the two systems in Nigeria, the respected elder-statesman is eminently qualified to offer a dispassionate appraisal of the two political models.

    In the light of the views expressed by Enahoro, it has become necessary to look at the merits and demerits of the two political models with a view to assisting the Electoral Reform Committee to make the right recommendations to the government.

    It is true that, upon the attainment of political independence from Great Britain in 1960, the nation’s founding fathers settled for the parliamentary system. The choice obviously was influenced by the retreating colonial power as that was and still remains the system in practice in the United Kingdom.

    The parliamentary system was in place in Nigeria till 1966 when the military intervened in the political process, leading to the collapse of the First Republic. With the return to partisan politics in 1979, after 13 years of unbroken military rule, the nation switched over to the presidential system which is an American model. Except for the period of military interregnum from 1983 to 1999, the country has remained stuck with the American model.

    Given our varied experiences under the two political models, we are now in a better position to compare and contrast and know which one is better for the Nigerian condition.

    Without mincing words, one major advantage which the parliamentary system enjoys over the presidential system is its strong emphasis on accountability. The Head of government who is the Prime Minister sits in parliament along with his Federal Ministers who are equally elected members of parliament. And they are accountable to the people through the parliament where the issue of their stewardship is regularly subjected to public scrutiny.

    Under the presidential system, the President is all powerful as the buck stops on his table as it were. He is neither accountable to the people that elected him nor to the parliament. From the Nigerian experience, he is accountable only to himself and nobody else, not even the party on whose platform he is elected.

    Under the presidential system, a non-performing government cannot be easily removed except through an impeachment process, a far-fetched option, which, in the Nigerian situation, is employed more often than not as an instrument of blackmail.

    But in the case of parliamentary system, the government resigns and re-submits itself for a fresh public mandate if a vote of no confidence is passed on it by the parliament. Such a realization that it could be removed on the account of no confidence vote helps to put pressure on the government to live above board and up to the expectations of the electorate at all times.

    The key argument in favour of the American model is that it is anchored on the principle of separation of powers which provides for checks and balances. Under this theory, the parliament exists to make laws for the good governance of the Federation, the Executive represented by the President implements the laws and formulates policies while the Judiciary exists to interpret the laws and adjudicate in cases of conflicts between the Executive and the Legislature. This sounds very ideal.

    But in the Nigerian experience it has never worked out so well. Given the nature of our constitution which gives too much power to the President, the parliament has more often been under the emasculation and dominance of the President. At least, we saw this happen under the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo.

    Much more importantly, however, the presidential system is very expensive to operate, given the bloated nature of the cabinet. Apart from the mandatory requirement of appointing Ministers from every State of the Federation, the President has no constitutional limitations as to the number of personal aides he could engage. Under Obasanjo, there were an avalanche of Personal, Special and Senior Special Assistants, many of them without any clear-cut portfolios. This coterie of staff constitutes a huge drain on scarce national resources. Even under, Yar’Adua, the trend has not changed.

    One of the arguments against the parliamentary model is that “a government is always formed based on coalitions which sometimes might involve parties with incompatible political agendas as was the case during the First Republic”. As Bolade Eyinla noted in the book, ‘Fedralism and Political Restructuring in Nigeria’, “this is due to the fact that no single political party in Nigeria can win enough vote to give it an outright majority in parliament”. With events in the country, starting from the SDP’s days and current showing of the ruling PDP, that argument is no longer sustainable. The SDP and PDP, with their outright control of the National Assembly, at different times, have been able to prove the argument wrong.

    The Electoral Reform Committee should therefore take a serious look at the parliamentary system and see how it can be fine tuned to take care of our peculiar political circumstances.

  21. Dr. José Rizal II

    Manuel / MLQ3,

    Any reactions?

    Do you now understand why the Parliamentary System is superior to the Presidential System?

    I’ll tell you the main problem with the view that the Presidential System is “better.”

    Many of you actually bought the whole “Separation of Co-Equal Branches of Government” hook, line, and sinker. 😉

    I say this because on paper, the Presidential System looks ideal because of this wonderful-sounding concept. However, just like the concept of a perpetual moving machine looks sound on paper, in real life the Presidential System’s separation of powers doesn’t really work to its advantage, and instead becomes the source of gridlock, stalemates, stalled governance, and bigger problems.

    Why? Because the “Separation of Co-Equal Branches of Government” concept presupposes that all branches – most especially the Executive and the Legislative will keep a check on each other for purely patriotic reasons, seeking to benefit the greater good of the People.

    But more often than not (something like 95% of the time), this check and balance concept of the “Separation of Co-Equal Branches of Government” does not work for ideal reasons but rather for narrowly selfish interests of political grandstanding, attention-getting, and blocking the progress of the other group (especially when the President and the majority in Legislature are at opposite poles rather than from the same political persuasion).

    Let’s visit the theoretical concept of many Perpetual Motion Machines… Using purely theoretical physics, many such machines would seem to be theoretically sound. However, no one has been able to create any such machines because of one main thing that cannot easily be factored in the theoretical planning of such machines: Friction and/or energy dissipation due to friction.

    Such is the same problem of the “Separation of Co-Equal Branches of Government” concept of the Presidential System. Ideally, politicians and political parties are supposed to do what they do with interests of the People in mind. ONLY the interests of the People in mind. But the real Truth is that being ordinary human beings, such people too often succumb to character flaws of selfishness, jealousy, hatred, emotionalism, sentimentalism, etc.

    So instead of having one branch “keeping check on the other” with the best intentions, most of the time, the “keeping check on the other” (often called “fiscalizing” – an invented Filipinism) is done for politicking purposes, not for any real noble pursuit of the greater good.

    Because such does not work in real life, and instead, worse effects result from it such as gridlock, stalemates, and stalled governance, the Presidential System’s “Separation of Co-Equal Branches of Government” feature is actually more of a sham and in fact a liability than a real advantage.

    In the end, the Parliamentary System performs better because by fusing the Executive and the Legislative, the Parliament’s majority bloc has no one else but itself to blame if its own decisions yield disastrous results.

    Within Parliament, the minority bloc, led by the Leader of Opposition can directly question the Majority bloc, led by the Prime Minister, on issues, and if and when the Majority bloc prevails, makes a decision, and implements it, the Minority bloc can easily say “TOLD YOU SO!” if the Majority bloc’s project fails.

    The Minority bloc can then use that failure (as well as others) as a reason for the People to choose them come election time, and the Majority bloc can feel the pressure to change their leader (the Prime Minister) if they fear that his numerous wrong decisions could costs them their majority control in the next election.

    In the end, the Parliamentary System is much more “accountability oriented” and does not allow finger-pointing and blaming unlike the Presidential System does, where an Executive can easy claim AND PROVE that the Legislature was blocking his efforts that’s why he failed, or vice versa.

    In the Parliamentary System, since both are fused together, there’s no one else to blame but the majority bloc themselves and the ordinary electorate can more easily see that.

    This is why IN REAL LIFE, the Parliamentary System is better.

    The theory behind the advantages of the Presidential System’s “Separation of Co-Equal Branches of Government” is merely a paper-based concept which does not in any way factor in the concepts of the human faults and flaws that are present in the people the comprise both branches which check on each other.

    This is no different from the problem of theoretical “perpetual motion machines” which on paper do not factor in the concept of Friction and the resulting energy dissipation that occur, thereby causing such machines to NOT BE PERPETUALLY IN MOTION and eventually stop after friction causes energy dissipation to finally make it stop.

    It is thus, better to look at what actually works in real life rather than just looking at pure theory on paper.

    In this respect, the system that actually performs better IN REAL LIFE is the Parliamentary System.

  22. manuel

    JR,

    “If the Nigerians can think about shifting from Presidential to Parliamentary in a very logical and objective “pros-versus-cons” manner, why can’t Filipinos do it?”

    Because they love the Philippines too much to see it turning into Nigeria.

  23. manuel

    But seriously JR, you have regurgitated thousands of word already. Are you not tired yet?

    FOR THE LAST TIME – WE NEED THREE CO-EQUAL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT CHECKING AND BALANCING EACH OTHER BECAUSE POLITICIANS CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO STAY HONEST OR TO DO THE RIGHT THING ALL THE TIME. WE NEED MORE CHECKS AND BALANCES NOT LESS!!!!

    Now go and play with your Cliff notes somewhere else.

  24. Dr. José Rizal II

    Manolo *este* Manuel,

    I’ll never get tired, because I totally enjoy this!!

    I noticed: Pikon ka na talaga. 😉

    It’s already extremely clear to everyone that your infatuation with an extremely THEORETICAL CONCEPT is flawed. The problem is that it is costing us Filipinos a lot of money. Instead of zooming forward, nitwits like you are causing us to continue muddling along like a tortoise while we’re getting left behind by nimbler countries who have better systems than we do.

    Your love of the Philippine Presidential System is totally misplaced.

    You see, “THREE CO-EQUAL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT CHECKING AND BALANCING EACH OTHER” is what proponents of the Presidential System merely CLAIM to be its only real advantage. But that’s only a THEORETICAL advantage. Something that’s only good on paper

    But does it really work in REAL LIFE? Does this bullshit “Three Co-Equal Branches” concept result in real benefits to the People?

    NO.

    It’s merely the concept on paper, but it doesn’t happen in real life because of the unfortunate problem of politicians’ selfishness and character flaws.

    The Presidential System’s Separation of Powers concept of “co-equal branches of government checking and balancing each other is merely “IDEAL ON PAPER, FAILURE IN REALITY.”

    As I expertly explained already, the same problem of “ideal on paper, failure in reality” happens with the idea of perpetual motion machines. Bakit? Kasi nga may Friction eh. Friction causes the dissipation or rather the unwanted conversion of energy into heat, which then slows down the machine, eventually leading it to a halt.

    That’s the same problem with your INFATUATION with your “run-like-hell” lolo’s Philippine Presidential System.

    You hold on to it because you love the Presidential System more than you love the Filipino People, and then when your idiotic views supporting the flawed Philippine Presidential System are challenged by geniuses and experts against whom you have absolutely no intellectual ammunition, you mouth that clichéd defense about the “three co-equal branches acting as check-and-balance”, but your feeble brain fails to realize that the Separation of Powers Concept has brought more HARM THEN GOOD precisely because most politicians ON EITHER SIDE or on EITHER BRANCH are merely human and often succumb to the human frailty of SELF-INTEREST.

    There is nothing wrong with SELF-INTEREST, but the “Separation of Powers among three co-equal branches acting as check and balance on each other” ASSUMES that the members of these different branches are all ideal human beings – perfect SAINTS – who do not have any SELF-INTEREST and whose only interest is the Greater interest of the Country.

    Well guess what Manolo *este* Manuel, the Parliamentary System, at the very least, CHANNELS the self-interest of “political survival” into causing the players to produce positive results in the interest of the Majority of the People (The Constituents in the various Constituencies) and, for those MP’s who are in the minority wanting to gain majority, towards gaining more political power.

    The Parliamentary System, therefore, works better than the Presidential System, because while the Presidential System naively assumes that all its players are Angels and Saints from Heaven and not Human Beings from Earth, the Parliamentary System recognizes that the players there are all Human Beings from Earth with genuine self-interest towards political survival, and the Parliamentary System thus channels that desire to survive politically so that the players survive *AND* THRIVE if and only if they are successfully able to produce positive results.

    You see Manolo, you are a lousy judge of Human Behavior and understanding Human Nature. I, on the other hand, am an expert in it, which is why I always beat you in these debates.

    You are naive. You are uninformed. You are not fit to be an Explainer.

    And you know what? You’ve shown that you’re so f^cking PIKON, Manolo. Your all-caps tirade shows you can’t take the fact that there are people like me who are better, more intelligent, and better informed than you.

    Wag kang pikon, Manolo… 😉

    your genius friend who beats you in debates all the time,

    Dr. José Rizal II

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