By Jelly F. Musico
President Rodrigo Duterte has urged Congress to push for a federal system of government similar to France which follows a federal-presidential model.
”You know my advice to you is maintain a federal system, a parliament, but be sure to have a president. You copy the France system. Huwag mo hayaan ‘yun puro na parliament. Delikado iyon,” Pres. Duterte said in his first State of the Nation Address last Monday.
Under the French political system, the President is the highest authority while the second highest is the Prime Minister who is nominated by the majority party in the National Assembly and appointed by the President for an indefinite term.
Before delivering his 92-minute SONA, Pres. Duterte discussed the establishment of federal system of government with his fellow Mindanaoan leaders — Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III.
”You can have a president you can elect. Maybe Tito Sotto would be the lucky gut at that time. O,‘di, limitahan mo lang. Ceremonial powers. Power to dissolve, power to accept the resolution or whatever, mandating you this, do that, or ceremonial powers except in times of need, if there’s a demand for action,” the President said.
Duterte, who was elected the country’s 16th President only last May 9 with over 16 million votes, said he would step down if the shift of the form of government from presidential to federal presidential will happen in the third or fourth year of his administration.
”And even if there is still two years, three years I will go. Okay na ako. Do not worry about me. I don’t aim to that much ambition,” Pres. Duterte told the members of Congress comprising 24 senators and 292 House of Representatives members.
”You call for a referendum and after that call for a presidential election, I will go. Sibat na ako,” he added.
Recently, former Senate President and now Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon has filed a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to review the 1987 Constitution amid Pres. Duterte’s call for a shift from presidential to federalism.
Some lawmakers have also been pushing for constitutional assembly as another mode of amending the Constitution.
Federalism will hasten the economic development in the country which is composed of 7,100 islands and islets with diverse cultures and traditions. (PNA)