PDP-Laban think tank insists on own federal version over con-com output

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2018 03:22 PM

FILE PHOTO: Members of Malacañang’s consultative committee discuss provisions in the proposed federal constitution. ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte’s party will push ahead with its own version of a federal constitution, a member of its think tank said, insisting it was “not bound” by proposals by Malacañang’s consultative committee.

Leaders of the PDP-Laban party have given the go-signal to update the federal charter prepared by its study group, to be submitted to the president and Congress, said Ramon Casiple, who helped write the proposal.

Duterte’s consultative committee earlier voted to keep the presidential form of government under a federal system, a proposal that did not sit well with the PDP-Laban drafting group, which has 2 members in the committee.

The study group is pushing for a semi-presidential model where power will be shared between a president and a prime minister under a so-called “dual executive” arrangement.

“Hindi pa 'to usapin na dahil nagbotohan sila, hindi na-carry 'yung aming version, ay hinto na kami. Kasi at the end of the day, recommendatory lang din ang consultative committee to the president,” Casiple told ABS-CBN News.

(Not just because they voted on theirs, our version will not be carried and we will stop working. Because at the end of the day, the consultative committee is recommendatory to the president.) 

“Hindi naman kami bound dun e. Hindi naman kami under sa consultative committee.”

(We are not bound by that. We are not under the consultative committee.)

Former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., who pushed for a federal-presidential model as a member of the consultative committee, was open to a parallel proposal from his party’s study group. 

“The more, the merrier,” he told ABS-CBN News. “Everybody should be free to suggest their own version, of course, within reason, para mabigyan naman ng maraming option ang pangulo (so that the President will have many options).”

ANOTHER MARCOS

The PDP-Laban proposal, contained in a 328-page book also submitted to the President, pushes for a package of reforms including a ban on political dynasties and turncoatism.

The committee has adopted such proposals, but not a state subsidy intended to help convert political parties into strong public institutions with greater accountability.

But still a contentious issue for the study group is implementing such reforms under the federal-presidential setup approved by the consultative committee.

This proposal “argues for a very strong president no different” from the present model where the chief executive is seen as the “center of gravity,” Casiple said. 

“So 'yung temptation, halimbawa, ng paglitaw ng another Marcos, nandun,” he said.

(The temptation for another Marcos to rise is there.) 

Pimentel described this as “far-fetched” insisting that “no authoritarian powers” for the president were being proposed by the consultative committee.