Pimentel: Shift to federalism not planned for Duterte
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III scoffed at insinuations that the proposed shift to federalism was designed for President Rodrigo Duterte.
Pimentel noted that the ruling PDP-Laban has been advocating federalism since 1982 when Duterte was still out of “radar.” Duterte and Pimentel are chairman and president of the party, respectively.
“Hindi ito for Duterte. 1982 pa e federalism na ang advocacy ng PDP-Laban. Wala pa sa radar, sa national level si President Duterte. So we’re doing this for Duterte? Malabo po yata ‘yun,” he said in an interview over DZMM on Friday.
The Senate leader explained that under a federal form of government, there will be a total of 12 “centers of power” unlike the present unitary form where all executive powers belong solely to the President.
“Kaya nga bilib ako sa Presidente natin e. He’s willing to let go of some of his powers,” Pimentel said.
“Ang ibig sabihin ng federalism kunwari mayroon tayong 11 regions, so that means we’ll have 11 regional governments, so meron tayong 11 centers of power in the regions plus center of power in the central. So there are 12 centers of power. In the unitary, ‘yung ngayon, we have only one kaya nga tawag dyan unitary—one only,” he also explained.
According to Pimentel, one idea of the proposed federalism is that senators would be elected by region while members of the House of Representatives would still be elected by district.
Instead of scaring the public or issuing general criticisms, Pimentel urged everyone to have a healthy debate on the issue.
A measure proposing the shift to a federal form of government has yet to be filed in the Senate.
“Let’s have a healthy debate pero gawin naman nating based on ideas, based on specific drafts…Huwag ‘yung mananakot lang tayo sa taumbayan or general criticisms. Dahil hindi ka kampi ng Presidenteng ito, against ka na sa fedralismo e 1980s pa po yan, hindi pa nga sikat si Duterte noon,” he stressed. /kga
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