MORE important than to loosen the oppressive grip of the regions by Imperial Manila is for the new constitution to reform our election code and system of representation. Private money should be completely taken out of elections (so representatives of the poor can win) and a system instituted that gives the working class proportionate representation in congress or parliament.
Constitutional democracy is about equal and/or proportionate representation of all sectors in government. In the current election code only the rich can win office. Hence, they alone are represented in government.
If federalization merely gives more autonomy to regions but does not effectively give the farmer-worker sector its own voice in parliament, control will simply be transferred from Manila-based political dynasties to local counterparts. These will enjoy local autonomy but the local marginalized sector will continue to have no voice in government, their fate decided by representatives of local political dynasties.
That brings up the question of how shift to federalism, by a Constituent assembly (Con Ass) or by a Constitutional Convention (Con Con). With Con Ass we cannot expect representatives of big landowners and big business in Congress to insert constitutional provisions that will put a stop to their being the de facto sole representatives of all sectors of society.
A Con Con would not fare any better. With our crooked election system only candidates financed by traditional political dynasties will win seats in the Con Con. They will naturally draft a constitution that would essentially keep the present biased election system so as not to hurt their rich and powerful patrons.
I am, therefore, not surprised that Congress has decided on Con Ass. It is the surest and least expensive way (as they don’t have to spend for surrogates in a Con Con) for them to avoid insertions in the new constitution that would hurt their privileged position as exclusive winners in elections and exclusive representatives of all sectors of Philippine society.
I wrote earlier of being wary of a Revolutionary Government (Rev Gov). But now I can see where it could be coming from. It might be the only peaceful non-constitutional way to give the marginalized sectors a chance to run and win in elections and thus have their very own representatives in government. Neither Con Ass nor Con Con is expected to do this for them.
I write this with a fervent hope that Con Ass would prove me wrong because if it fails, the only other way, besides Rev Gov, to break the vicious cycle of people’s powerlessness is an armed revolution. And who knows what desperate people are capable of? Con Ass had better chew that one.