"How will it affect the lives of millions of Filipinos?"
After the nonsense shown by Mocha Uson and her equally puerile partner Drew Olivar about the proposed federalism form of government, a serious round table discussion of the issue is in order.
Mocha Uson is out of the Presidential Communications Operations Office but her and Olivar’s “pepe, dede” spoof on the matter lingers on. This is the downside of social media. Millions of followers choose to be entertained instead of being informed on such an important issue. If approved under a proposed Charter change, it is going to have an impact on all of us.
A lengthy, perhaps two-hour, forum on federalism would be an interesting intellectual intercourse. It should be covered live by the major TV networks. Those who are running for the Senate have to prove to the people that they are deserving of their votes.
Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Francis Pangilinan, former senator Juan Ponce Enrile, former chief Justice Reynato Puno should make a balanced foursome for the federalism forum.
Pimentel is president of the ruling PDP-Laban. He topped the Bar exams. His father is the original proponent of federalism. Pangilinan represents the opposition Liberal Party. Puno headed the consultative committee that worked on the draft of the new charter revising the 1987 Constitution. If approved by Congress, with the House and Senate voting separately, the proposed new Constitution will be submitted to the people in a plebiscite.
Already, there are questions on the revised Charter, particularly on the issue of federalism. How will it affect the lives of millions of Filipinos? What will be the enormous cost of a task that is close to creating not only a new form of government but practically a new nation? How will the revenues of each region be allocated by the national government? How will the poor regions compete with the regional provinces with higher-income industries like factories and mining? Under the proposed federalism, the number of Supreme Court justices, senators and congressmen will be doubled. One can imagine the cost of salaries and expenditures will also be doubled if not tripled. These issues and challenges apparently were not taken into consideration and factored in by the committee.
It is therefore imperative that all the issues on federalism be illuminated thoroughly by legal experts for the benefit of the people. Senatorial candidates, Mocha Uson, former Philippine National Police and Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald dela Rosa, folk singer Freddie Aguilar and Lito Lapid need not apply to join the legal panel. Needless to say, but let me say it just the same. Federalism and charter change are topics outside the realm of their competence.
It would be interesting to see the exchange of views among Enrile, Puno and Pimentel. Pimentel and Enrile were both former Senate Presidents with JPE remembered for presiding over the impeachment case that removed former Chief Justice Renato Corona. There are some detractors of Enrile who say that at 94 years old, the man may be past his prime. But Enrile, steeped in the law, is gifted with political sense and an amazing memory.
If elected to the Senate, Enrile may be one of the oldest living leaders in the world. Malaysia only recently returned to power as Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mahathir proving to one and all that experience and knowledge will always come to the fore in a country bereft of true leaders .
In a bizarre murder case, the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey joined the PNP headquarters in Camp Came in Quezon City as one one of the world’s infamous scene of the crime. A South Korean suspect was killed inside PNP headquarters which critics renamed the place as Camp Crime.
The Saudi government claimed that critic Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fistfight during interrogation inside the consulate. After a week of denial, the Saudis finally admitted Khashoggi is dead. He was shown on Closed Circuit TV camera entering the consulate but was never shown to have left the place
Supporters of Kashoggi and Turkish officials believed the victim was dismembered, his remains stuffed in a plastic bag and disposed of somewhere, never to be found.