Puno: PHL not ready for parliamentary system

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ConCom chairman and former Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno

By Gillian M. Cortez

A LEADING proponent of the draft federal charter said the Philippines is not ready for a parliamentary system, going by last Monday’s power struggle at the House of Representatives.

Retired chief justice Reynato S. Puno, who headed the Consultative Committee (ConCom) to Review the 1987 Constitution, also said he will not support federalism without an anti-dynasty provision.

“Just look back at everything that happened in Congress last Monday,” he said in his interview with The Chiefs on One News, regarding the ouster of House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez right before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Mr. Puno said the committee supports a presidential federal type of government: “There would be less risk in adapting a federal presidential system of government. On the other hand, my fear is that we are not ready for a parliamentary form.”

“We have to educate the public about the advantages and disadvantages of a unitary form of government verses federalism, then we have to educate them about the federal structure–what will happen to the federal government–and more importantly, what will happen to the regions,” he also said.

“We like to point out that power will be shifted from the federal government to the federal regions, then you unlock the potential of the regions. We believe that is the key to development of the regions. We are not only devolving economic powers (but) we are also devolving political powers and this is what our regions need.”

Regarding political dynasties, Mr. Puno said, “If this anti-dynasty provision (in our draft federal charter) is taken out, I will not support federalism.”