'Village tyrants' to replace 'national dictators' under federalism: ex-justice

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 18 2017 05:55 PM

MANILA - The proposed shift to federalism will hinder the rise of "national dictators" but it will pave the way for "village tyrants," a former Supreme Court justice said Tuesday.

Retired Justice Vicente Mendoza it is easier to amass power from a state or smaller constituency than to rally for nationwide support. 

Policing villages from despots will be difficult for provincial governments as most elected officials from the local level belong to political dynasties, Mendoza said.

Most regions also lack leaders who are experienced in the lawmaking process, he added.

"Each state will have to craft its own set of laws... They are untrained to make policies (so) how long will it take for present regions to develop into autonomous regions?" Mendoza said in a press conference in Quezon City. 

'INTENSIFIED REGIONALISM'

The federal form of government only worked well in the United States and other nations because there were several colonies that grouped together to form a government, but doing it the other way around --- breaking down a single government into several smaller powers --- may be problematic for the Philippines, Mendoza said.

"Because of this reverse process of forming our union, we will not have the quality of "expedience in localism that the US enjoys," the former magistrate said.

"This can only result in fragmentation...it will intensify regional differences and create them where there are none," he added.

Mendoza said while he agrees with President Rodrigo Duterte in lamenting "imperial Manila," he thinks federalization is not the solution.

"Federalization does not diffuse power but will actually act as an impediment to the diffusion," Mendoza said.