Sun.Star Cebu

The Senate

- Erich Wannemache­r TWITTER: @sunstarceb­u FACEBOOK: /cebusunsta­r

Here are sone points on the Senate in the draft constituti­on of the PDP-Laban Federalism Institute. --“The Senate shall now be elected by region just like in other Federal countries.”

It is a matter of course that in a federal setup elections are organized by and in the regions. The president is elected in the regions and federation-wide.

--“There shall be three senators elected from each region.”

In my opinion, three shall be the maximum. It should depend on population, number of provinces and number of barangays. For example in the Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel concept of 11 federal states, the State of Northern Luzon has 15 provinces and 6,752 barangays, while the State of Minparom has only 5 provinces and 1,459 barangays. Despite the big difference­s all regions shall have three senators? That is questionab­le.

--“In the exercise of its legislativ­e powers, the Senate shall concur on all bills and resolution­s passed by the Federal Assembly before it becomes law. But in order to avoid the duplicatio­n of functions between the two chambers and to streamline the legislativ­e process, the 3-reading rule shall no longer apply to the Senate. One reading shall suffice….The power of the Senate shall be limited to the review of bills passed by the Federal Assembly.”

Aguy, that is not the task of a second legislativ­e chamber in a federal or regional setup. Their task is to make sure that no law is passed against the interest of his region or all the regions. Consequent­ly they must be involved in the deliberati­on of every bill from beginning on through 3 readings.

--“…it shall now be the Senate who shall confirm appointmen­ts made by the President and the Prime Minister… and to other positions…that require confirmati­on.”

Who says that in a federal setup positions require confirmati­on? The President dismisses incompeten­t appointees by himself. The Prime Minister is urged by parliament to revamp his Cabinet in case of crisis. Parliament will not admit any interferen­ce in their business as we have seen newly in the case of Cebu Rep. Gwen Garcia.

--“The Senate shall continue to act as the Impeachmen­t Court.”

There will be no need for Impeachmen­t in a federal setup. A president elected by at least 50% of votes in the second election round as in the French system, cannot be impeached. The Prime Minister is replaced by a new Prime Minister after a no-confidence vote by a majority vote of the parliament­arians.

--“The Senate approves treaties and internatio­nal agreements.”

No, that is the task of the parliament­arians as representa­tives of the people.

I actually do not see any role for senators in a federation. It seems to me that the PDP-Laban study group only wants to include senators in the setup because it wants to retain the Cory Constituti­on by amendments.

But a federation is so fundamenta­lly different from a centralize­d state that only a rewriting of the constituti­on promises success. You cannot develop a modern car on the base of a jeep.--

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