Philippine Daily Inquirer
FEDERALISM MAY BE SMOKESCREEN FOR DUTERTE REELECTION—MONSOD
“Is federalism a Trojan horse to stay in power?”
So asked Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, as he warned that the proposed federal Charter could serve as a vehicle for President Duterte to stay in power beyond 2022, when his six-year term ends.
Although the draft federal Charter barred a term extension, “there was no explicit prohibition on (Mr. Duterte) running (for a second term) under the new Constitution,” Monsod said in a speech at a forum hosted by the Office of the Ombudsman and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
The 22-member consultative committee approved the draft Charter on July 3.
‘Culture of violence’
“If (President Duterte) wants to stay in power beyond 2022, the only legal way to do it is by Charter change, with a new Constitution that allows him to run again mainly through its transitory provisions—the way Marcos did it,” Monsod said, referring to the late dictator Fer- dinand Marcos, whose 1973 Constitution helped cement his hold on power.
“If the Marcos legacy is a culture of corruption, then the Duterte legacy would be a culture of violence. In fact, I believe that we are already on a slippery slope to authoritarianism even without Charter change,” Monsod said.
He said he was particularly bothered by the remark of former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, chair of the consultative commission, during the body’s first session on Feb. 19.
Puno called for “a moderation on the extreme exercise of the checking power by each branch of government,” and said that “in times of crises, more than one voice is noise.”
Monsod said this “sound[ed] dangerously Marcosian,” and asked who would determine the “extreme exercise” of checks and balances.
The former Commission on Elections chair also raised doubts that the “good provisions” of the committee’s draft —such as the ban on political dynasties—would be adopted by Congress.