CHANGING the form of government from presidential to federal system will likely succeed if the next president would push for it early in his term, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said Monday.

Marcos, a federalism advocate, said the new form of government could be the possible answer to socio-economic and social problems plaguing the country, particularly in Mindanao.

"If the next President will do that (push for charter change), he or she has to do it very early on – start the process on the first year (of his term), not on the last. That would at least allay suspicions this is being done to extend his terms. So that's a possibility," said Marcos, chairman of Senate local government committee.

"I think (amending the constitution is) necessary not because the concept is wrong but because the passage of time changed things and situations have changed so we have to adjust accordingly," he added.

Marcos, however, said there are speculations on the real agenda behind charter change because "there is no enabling law providing specific mechanisms regulating the power of Congress to amend the Constitution acting as constituent assembly."

The senator said the most acceptable method of charter change would be through a constitutional convention where delegates are elected by the public.

"So at least those who want to be delegates can campaign and tell the people what their plans are if they are elected. In this way, it would be clear to the public what to expect from their delegates," Marcos said.

In theory, federalism is a good option because it spreads power centers so that if there is problem in one area, it would not affect the entire country, Marcos said.

He further said there is recognition that each area is different – with different needs and concerns and different assets and capabilities – so each should be treated differently, noting that the best people to determine what is needed in the locality are the people living there.

Marcos said the country had experimented on the concept of federalism through the defunct Interim Batasang Pambansa, which had regional representations, although it was abandoned later on.

"So I think it's time to revisit the concept and see if it would be the one best suited for the Philippines," Marcos said. (Sunnex)