Tell it to SunStar: On the PDP-Laban draft constitution

THE Federal Assembly will have the power to initiate legislation.” “…Primary legislative power is vested on the Federal Assembly.”

My comment: Okay. That point is a given in a democratic people’s representations. But the main task is the power of the purse. The people have worked hard, created values and paid taxes, consequently their representatives shall make sure that their money is used to their benefit.

The Federal Assembly approves the National Expenditure Program submitted to them by the Prime Minister. The annual budget is the most important measure by the parliament. It goes through three readings, consequently it will be approved by a majority of parliamentarians. A rejection would lead to a government crisis.

“A pure parliamentary system without strong political parties can be unstable.”

That was the undoing of Germany’s Weimar Republic that fell prey eventually to Dictator Hitler.

It is the task of the Comelec to screen and accredit political parties. Non-serious parties without program and vision for the nation or are even counter-democratic are rejected. A number of 4 to 6 parties is optimal.

“The Federal Assembly will be composed of 400 members.”

My comment: Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel argues that “the increase in the number of senators (and of the members of the House) may be justified by the rise of our population.” He notes that the United Kingdom has 618 members in the Upper House for a population of 60.9 million. I can contribute that Germany has 709 MdBs in Bundestag for 82 million federal citizens. It is the highest number of parliamentarians in the world in relation to population.

Do not compare the Philippines with other nations. Here we follow the Duterte-ordained frugality and austerity. Two hundred ninety odd are adequate, one per electoral district. The inflation of government posts and fattening of the bureaucracy is one of the strongest arguments against Federalization. Few working hard are more efficient than many dawdlers and quorum killers.

“Parliament shall be mandated to promote the development of political parties as public institutions that shall serve as a mechanism for communication and cooperation between the people and the government.”

My comment: Excellent proposal, but I do not see any concrete steps and sincere intentions by PDP-Laban Institute to develop strong parties! Do they want to establish a one-party system? Do they fear opposition parties?

To be a grassroots party member you must not be a politician and even not a kagawad or tanod. Every academic shall enroll in a party in his barangay and contribute his mite to the well-being of his sitio, barangay or city. He can offer seminars on burning problems of society as are drug rehabilitation, teenage pregnancy, dengue prevention, environmental issues, human rights etc.

If he climbs up the party echelon he gets more power to serve his patrimony. That is his moral obligation for being one of the country’s elite. (To be continued.)--Erich Wannemacher
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