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The roadshow on the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution for Media Briefing was conducted yesterday here in Legazpi City.

After 31 years when the ratification of the 1987 Philippine Constitution was done, here we are again facing a national imperative – to be one community and a nation anticipating the opportunity to charter the destiny of the 110 million Filipinos – through another charter change.

According to the three members of the Consultative Committee present during the Legazpi City Media Briefing [Attorney Antonio Arellano, Attorney Susan Ubalde – Ordinario and Professor Eddie Alih] the time is now to correct the flaws of the unitary form of government.

Attorney Susan Ubalde – Ordinario spoke before the local media in his closing statement that there is no insidious plot to install an authoritarian regime under the term of the present administration.

Attorney Arrelano has exhorted the local media to expand the conversation table about Federalism until it reaches the critical mass – Professor Alih said that the time to shift to federalism  so that the lasting peace to the country and to the Bangsamoro homeland be acheived the time is not tomorrow, but now.

Empowering people and empowering the region is a catchy phrase and I agree to these, even during the drafting of the 1987 constitution until its ratification the following year.

That promised empowerment never came.

This vision of empowerment has centered in most of the political organizing days long before the dictatorship was toppled thirty-two years ago.

Demarcosifying the bureaucracy was a total failure as the wily Marcos cronies thrived in their guileful acrobats so successful that they made their stride seamless into the Aquino administration as supporters and patrons until to the present administration.

The reign of crony-capitalism in the bureaucracy continue and the oligarchs was able to wield their political powers again waltzing unabashedly in the corridor of powers with the unrepentant elites, splurging on the wealth within their sphere of influence.

For a people and a country who is taking pride of its newly attained democratic space in 1986 – the gain of that bloodless revolution has to live in a brief euphoria because the economic and political power was restored back to the traditional, unrepentant elites and oligarchs of the country.

Today, in this planned shift from unitary to a federal form of government bears the same promise and prospect that both needs discernment by the Filipino masses.

Despite the statement made by Attorney Susan Ubalde – Ordinario  before the local media during the Thursday media briefing – this writer shares a parallel perceived apprehension of a possible watering down of some salient provisions like the anti-dynasty and social justice provisions.

If the shift to federal form is an imperative of the time for the 110 million Filipinos it is also equally urgent to mitigate the indifferences, complacencies and doubts on the proposed charter change.

The burden of proof that the proposed charter change rests not on the accountabilities of the 22 members of the committee, but rests on the sincerity and honesty of the members of houses of Congress.

Be it they approve the constitutional assembly or the constitutional convention in the approval of the drafted constitution – the threat of partisan politics remains the issue because it is planning to  dismantle the existence of the ruling political dynasty is explicitly spelled out in the draft proposal.

This is a popular clamor for change in order to ensure power to the people through equal opportunity and access instead of political monopoly.

Both the houses of Congress and the Senate is a bastion of the oligarchs and the elite. Their representations are not for the “masa,” but for their class and interests.

Traditional political parties in the country, including the majority party under the Duterte administration, are a product of a traditional politics are still promoting transactional politics.

Their political and business influences are far and wide and their propensities to influence the outcome of the plebiscite remains high in terms of probabilities.

The draft is good because the 22 members appointed has its own unique probity and their chosen field of disciplines – but, they are not the one who will sit in the approval of the drafted constitution.

The power of deletion and insertion during the plenary when the constitutional convention or the constitutional assembly convenes, watering down of provisions that will bring down their political species into extinction is a thing to watch.



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