The Centrist Democracy Political Institute (CDPI) on Thursday said it will propose the shift to a federal parliamentary system, urging the Congress to start deliberating the amendments in the 1987 Constitution that will pave the way to federalism.
CDPI President Lito Monico Lorenzana said in a statement that they will present the proposal to the 25-man commission to be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We have several models of federalism already submitted to Congress. We are presenting to you today a model borne out of years of discernment and study,” Lorenzana said.
Under the proposed type of government, the President, as head of state, shall be elected from among the members of parliament and shall serve a five-year term while the Prime Minister or the head of government will have no term limits but can be removed from office through a vote of no confidence and not through the process of impeachment.
CDPI is a political, non-profit organization, in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Philippines, a German political foundation which promotes political education initiatives worldwide.
“We have several models of federalism already submitted to Congress. We are presenting to you today a model borne out of years of discernment and study,” he added.
Lorenzana also said that they are pushing for a system where power and authority are shared between the federal government and the states.
“We want a system where power and authority are not centralized but shared between the federal government and the states – we call these regions, sub-states,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana added that the proposal adopted and updated the 2005 Consultative Commission documents, which they call “The Centrist Proposal”.
“In our proposal, the Centrist Proposal, the legislative and the executive are fused… We fuse them in a unicameral parliament, one body. And the head of government is the Prime Minister — with his Cabinet recruited among the members of parliament,” Lorenzana said.
However, Lorenzana said the CDPI that political party reform, enactment of a law banning political dynasties; the passage of a real all-encompassing Freedom of Information Act, and electoral reforms should be set as preconditions while revising the 1987 Constitution.
“These four conditions have a high probability of passage while we have a President endowed with tremendous political capital and have the political will to act decisively,” he said.
“We penalize turncoatism or the switching of political parties, the balimbings, the political butterflies,” Lorenzana added.
As for electoral reforms, Lorenzana said the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) must be restructured to remove all quasi-judicial work and transfer electoral contests and protests to the judiciary.
In terms of federalization, Lorenzana said the Centrist Position calls for 11 autonomous territories.
Lorenzana said the Bangsamoro, as the 12th autonomous territory, will be constituted ahead of the Bangsamoro because of the Bangsamoro Basic Law enacted by Congress previous to the plebiscite.
Lorenzana added that by 2028, autonomous territories may already operate like federal states.
“They can raise their own funds. They can come up with their own resources. They can come up with their own taxes and spend for themselves. It is a kind of federalism we aspire for where the people from cities and regions shall negotiate among themselves and arrive a decision to set up their own federal state,” he said.
He added the process of shifting to a federal type of government may take some time and would need massive political education, especially among millennials.
“The Centrist roadmap to federalism is designed to mitigate the shock to the body politic arising from the purging of traditional political practices to the immediate passage of reform laws now pending in Congress,” he said.