Charter change: A shift to federal-parliamentary government?

Senator Miriam Santiago is seriously pursuing Charter change to shift to federal-parliamentary system of government. She held public hearings today at the Senate by inviting six constitutional law experts to deliver lectures on charter change. Common opinion of the speakers are ” yes there is a need for charter change. a parliamentary form of govt will be more responsive to our needs”.

The senator said will file a resolution “very soon” calling for a constitutional convention, one of various ways to amend or revise the Constitution.

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno proposed a shift to a federal-parliamentary government with a unicameral legislature, and the creation of a constitutional court separate from the Supreme Court.

“A unitary government is not suited to a country of so many islands, so many cultures, and so many dialects,” Puno said.

He said shifting to federalism would help achieve peace in Mindanao where a Muslim separatist insurgency has been going on for decades.

Puno also said that the current presidential system gives too much power to the President, a setup that might render the system of checks and balances ineffective. Thus, he believes the country needs to adopt the parliamentary system.

“This imbalance of power is also a contributing factor to the lack of ideological growth of our political parties,” Puno added. “The result is that our government becomes personality-oriented instead of being party-directed.”

Former Associate Justice Florentino Feliciano seems wary against rash moves to amend the Constitution. “Constitutions are meant to serve structural purposes, not operating purposes, and they seek enduring goals. Only changes of the most compelling need or stark requirements of survival should be considered,” he said.

In Twitter, one noted that “there is no perfect charter, the country has been ruled by the ”mapagsamantala’ who succeeded creating a nation of weaklings”. Another tweet said ” shifting to parliamentary won’t work. we love to vote for our presidents directly. it’s our culture.” A Facebook user added that he “had dinner with friends last night and we agreed to support charter change so we can declare P-Noy King and have a competent Prime Minister to run the day to day affairs of government. if we had that system during Erap’s time, we wouldn’t have had to endure a decade of ate glue.”

I am still studying the benefits of the shift to a federal-parliamentary government. What do you think?