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Jun 25th
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Senator Pimentel Allays Fears of Presidential Hopefuls over Federalism Scheme
Senator Pimentel Allays Fears of Presidential Hopefuls over Federalism Scheme PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Friday, 15 August 2008 00:10

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) allayed the fears of fellow senators, particularly those eyeing the presidency or vice presidency, that the adoption of the federal system may cause the scrapping of the 2010 presidential election.


Senator Pimentel said the 2010 presidential election will be held as scheduled because the federalism proposal, embodied under Joint Resolution 10, does not contemplate of the abolition of the presidential form of government.


Senator Pimentel says that while the plan is for the present Congress to convert itself into a Constituent Assembly to amend the 1987 Constitution, the federal system is unlikely before 2010 when the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shall have ended.

The senator from Mindanao said the scheduled elections in that year could possibly be done away with only if there is a shift to a parliamentary system which is not the agenda of Resolution 10. In a parliamentary system, the head of government will be the prime minister and members of Parliament will replace the senators and congressmen.


“Even if the federalism proposal is adopted today, we cannot say it will take effect immediately. It will take time to restructure the government and put in place the federal system. It cannot be done under the present term of the President,” Mr. Pimentel said.


Aside from this, he said the adoption of the federal system and other amendments to the Constitution will have to be approved by the people in a national plebiscite which will also entail a lot of time.


Senator Pimentel resource speaker, Negros Oriental League of Municipalities, consultative meeting in Barangay Tandayag, Amlan, Negros Oriental, frowned on the stand of his colleagues to postpone the convening of a Constituent Assembly until after 2010. He said that by that time, his senatorial term would have expired and his chance for spearheading the resolution on federalism would have been gone.


“If I will have the way, we should now debate and decide on Resolution 10 because I’m still here. And as long as I am here, I will not allow any attempt to use the federalism proposal to push for a hidden political agenda,” Senator Pimentel said.

“But if my colleagues want it to take effect after the term of President Arroyo, why not?”


The minority leader said he will insist that safeguards are built into the federalism resolution against any proposal to lift the term limit on the incumbent president and other national government officials.


Senator Pimentel said once the Senate and House reach a decision to call a Constituent Assembly, he will propose that the resolution to amend the Constitution should: 1. Include the agenda what specific articles of the Constitution would be amended, and 2. Be passed by the vote of three-fourths of all members of the Senate and House, voting separately.


“If we do not define the agenda in the resolution, the people would have every reason to suspect that we, the members of Congress, have a hidden agenda. By putting on record what we want in the Constitution changed with specificity, we will to rest that popular suspicion,” he said.  # # #

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Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2008 04:57

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