TIMING is everything. On the second day in office of President Bongbong Marcos, a Capampangan voice resonated and many took notice. Pampanga 3rd district Congressman Dong Gonzales is rising to the challenge. He is the principal author of a bill amending certain constitutional provisions, specifically on term limits for the president, vice president, congressmen and senators. In the upper house Senator Robin Padilla is the main proponent. Wow I cannot wait to see the bills in both houses being debated in a plenary and the two gentlemen crossing mitts with their peers who are mostly are lawyers, educators and are armed with masteral and doctorate degrees. Both are none lawyer. Gonzales is an infra contractor and Padilla a movie star. If the two hurdled their respective gauntlets it will put to shame former Senator Frank Drilon, a topnotch attorney.

At this point I humbly suggest to my colleagues in both Capampangan Media Inc.(CAMI) and Pampanga Press Club (PPC) to invite Congressman Gonzales first in a jointly sponsored forum and we members shoot profound intelligent and searching questions how he will navigate in the plenary his charter change bill. And Senator Padilla in a separate occasion. Let’s see what stuff they’re made off and it will be some kind of a workout for them. Both CAMI and PPC have separate working board of trustees and their imprimatur is needed.

Looking back I remember in the dying months of the Duterte administration The move to amend the charter was widely criticized. Bad timing. Why consider charter change when the country was still gripped with fear because of the spreading corona virus? And only few months left in the Duterte government and the scheduled national elections were nearing.

Many can’t understand that latest move. There was a strong belief that there will be no charter change that will succeed even Duterte’s people will muster all their strength in the last one year and half of him in Malacanang. Time run out. Gonzales and Padilla’s timing is perfect.There’s really a need for a charter change because many of its outdated provisions need amendments. Correct the party system for one. The multi-party is another one. The two systems are too confusing. I grew up knowing two political parties in our country, the Liberal Party and the Nacionalista Party. Our political system copied the two party system of the United States of America. The counterparts in the USA are the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.

Retro: There was a time when the voting age in our country was 21 but later on congress lowered it to 18. Curiously, I asked few eighteeners to name at least two political parties now accredited by our Commission on Elections (Comelec). I got blank answers. Those above 21 whom I queried mentioned the Liberal Party and the Nacionalista Party. The Liberal Party (LP) is one of the oldest extant political parties in the country and pride itself with big names like Manuel Roxas, Elpidio Quirino, Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino and Diosdado P. Macapagal. It was founded after the war, sometime in 1945. And the oldest party is the Nacionalista Party (NP) which was founded in 1907. The NP was the ruling party from 1935 to 1944 and was headed by President Manuel L. Quezon till the war broke out. Quezon took the submarine with General Douglas Macarthur for the United States via Australia and left the country and the party under the care of Sergio Osmena Sr.

The NP big guns include former Presidents Ramon Magsaysay of Zambales, Carlos P. Garcia of Bohol, Ferdinand E. Marcos of Ilocos Norte and Claro M. Recto of Batangas. One national figure coming from Pampanga was the late Senator Gil J. Puyat of Guagua who became senate president. The leaderships of this country changed hands from stalwarts of these two parties. No political figure during those years can become president unless they belong either to the NP or LP. I remember I was still in the high school when Raul Manglapus, a brilliant senator run as an independent candidate and assembled prominent names in his senatorial slate and all of them failed to get the approval of the electorates.

The political system was overhauled and the multi-party system was born. Today we can no longer count with our fingers the number of political parties nationwide, and more so if we include the local parties that mushroomed in most provinces. Our poltical system became chopsuey.With the party list system, the population of the lower House of Representatives ballooned from the 104 members in the late sixties to more than 300 members now. There is a considerable view that the party list system is only an added cost shouldered by taxpayers' money. And by the looks of it, the additional party list members are enjoying the perks, and no way they will budge from their seats.