Building a Philippine Parliament and Federalism
Poem and Article by Andy Ibay
The Poem – C I R C L E
I knelt before the wisdom of creation, knowing
yet not doubting the purpose of it all.
To come to life, nay, to decide to be re- born is to
understand, agree and accept the reasons why
all living creatures must live and die.
I grew up in blissful ignorance of the power to
exist and vanish; of the connections between man and beast.
Like the caveman I awakened every morn agitated like fire,
more cunning than beast, more patient than night I yell,
ignorant no more of the nexus between predator and prey.
I slowly open my eyes and blink to years of brightness
of the eternal sun, heating, wrinkling my skin into old age.
I snort and exhale the season’s wind; angry storm, spanking
mountain trees, serene breeze, calming smoldering seas;
yet nature’s helpless to lend resilience to my aging flesh.
I am water filling my organ, tissue, cell and protoplasm.
Water I am not from brooks and streams, free flowing spring
and gurgling fountains; they seem to last forever while
my organ, tissue, cell and protoplasm dehydrate and die.
Barbarians and their cavemen ancestors live and die
knowing, worshiping earth, fire, wind and water.
Earth, fire, wind and water; Are these not the essence
of their existence? I am caveman, I am barbarian
till I learned God’s circle, His creation equation.
November 22, 2004
THE PHILIPPINES PARLIAMENT
The Philippines President is the Head of State and shall have the power to abolish the Federal Parliament, call for new elections of members and formalize a newly elected Parliament. The President is appointed from among non-politicians, outstanding citizens, for a non-renewable term of five years, by the Prime Minister with concurrence by the majority of the Members.
The Prime Minister is the Head of Government. He exercises the dual awesome powers of legislation, and implementation and enforcement of enacted laws. He is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The Parliament, made up of the Senate and the National Assembly, constitutes the legislative branch of the government and is responsible for enactment of laws. The present Senate shall be unchanged in numbers, in status quo, except for additional three senators to represent Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to be appointed by and be coterminous with the Prime Minister.
Only members of the PM’s cabinet shall be allowed to perform executive functions of policy making and policy implementation. All members of Parliament, including the Prime Minister, shall not enjoy and should eliminate earmarks of all nature of projects funded by the publicly detestable “pork barrel”. It is important that the new Constitution must provide measures that will avoid role displacement from lawmaking into program implementation clout and authority.
The Chief of the Federal High Court (composed of combined defunct Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court) shall exercise administration of Regional High Courts and all other inferior courts. The Federal High Court increased in size follows the Greek example that more is not merrier, but will be more difficult to bribe when passing judgment as a whole body. In effect, the abolition of the Court of Appeals eliminates an extra tier for appeals at the national level since the establishment of regional high courts decentralizes and brings down the administration of justice closer to the 111 million Filipinos.
Any decision of the Federal High Court declaring any law unconstitutional shall not be accepted as law and will be sent back to the Parliament for rectification. The Federal High Court or any other court shall not engage itself in lawmaking of any form. The Sandiganbayan remains at the Federal level to try and deal out maximum penalties to public officials and private persons who renege in their public accountabilities.
The four constitutional bodies namely: the Commission on Audit (COA), the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Ombudsman shall be independent bodies directly reporting only to the President who has the power to abolish the Federal Parliament and call for new elections. The terms of office for chairpersons and members of these constitutional bodies shall be fixed and one time only, specified by number of years. As the example for all appointive officials, the Constitution must provide measures to avoid their overstaying in particular positions in order to maintain opportunities to provide new blood and dynamism to positions of responsibility. Appointees shall not be rotated among these four agencies.
The chart and the elucidation above are illustrative of full implementation that will be very costly to taxpayers. The piece sets aside the bric-a-brac of pre-conditions and obstacles to adapting a form of government tried, adopted or tested elsewhere; if only to kick the butt of negativism.
THE POWERS THAT BE UNDER THE NEW PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION
The main feature is massive decentralization and devolution of democratic powers for capacity building of citizens and empowerment of local politics for nation building.
- FEDERAL (National) LEVEL:
- PRESIDENT – Head of State
- PRIME MINISTER – Head of Government
- Deputy Prime Minister for Federal Ministries
- Deputy Prime Minister for Federal Regions
- Federal Executive Ministers
- Federal Supreme Court and Appeals Court
The President need not be elected by the people, but upon recommendation of the Prime Minister, will be elected by three-fourths vote of the National Parliament (Government of the Day) for a non-renewable term of six years.
The Prime Minister, being the leader of the party winning the largest number of seats in a federal election, shall be elected by simple majority of the members of the Federal Parliament.
The Prime Minister shall appoint from members of his political party his two Deputies: Federal Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for Federal Regions.
The Prime Minister shall appoint from elected members of the Federal Parliament irrespective of political party affiliations to head the Federal Ministries of Health, Education, Federal Defense, Foreign Affairs, Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Justice, Federal Police, and others he may so determine. The Prime Minister, subject to the approval of the Federal Parliament, may abolish, merge, or reduce or expand the functions and personnel of any federal ministry.
The Prime Minister shall appoint all heads of government corporations, and other instrumentalities of the government operating at federal level and jurisdiction.
The President shall appoint all justices of federal courts and all heads of federal and regional heads of constitutional bodies on election, civil service, federal and regional audit and the Ombudsman upon recommendation of the Prime Minister.
- REGIONAL (sub-national) LEVEL: Each Federal Region shall pursue the never ending goal of becoming a self-sustained, self-contained unique nation of honor powered by its own local people and natural resources .
- NATIONAL PARLIAMENT (5 X 12 REGIONS = 60 MEMBERS) elected at large region-wide
- TWELVE Regional Premiers elected by Governors in the region
- Members of Regional Parliaments (three from each province)
- Provincial Governors
- City Mayors
- Town Mayors
- Secretaries of Regional Departments
- Judges and senior officers of regional courts
All the EIGHT named government officials above shall have the power and authority to appoint the senior officials in the respective jurisdiction as provided by the Federal Civil Service Commission. No elected public official or former politician, but only bureaucrats or technocrats, shall be appointed to head or work in any federal region’s department. Political has-beens should join the private sector.
The Regional Parliaments shall have lawmaking jurisdiction on all matters not included or covered by the powers granted by the Constitution to the Federal Parliament.
Finally, if President elect Rodrigo Duterte happens to read this, just a cup of coffee with one refill will suffice for him to decide to throw this to the waste basket or hand this to his orderly for whatever. In a manner of speaking, if and when the new President asks for it, then here it is: ***** 17 0516