Con-com member: If Duterte favors federalism, let him fire DOF, NEDA chiefs
A member of the Consultative Committee (Con-com) believes that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia should either be “sacked” or be “kept their mouth shut” by President Rodrigo Duterte if the government is really serious about pursuing federalism.
Father Ranhilio Aquino, a member of the Con-com and Dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law, said that Duterte should only do this if he truly favors federalism.
Dominguez and Pernia recently expressed doubts against the proposed shift to a federal form of government. Dominguez feared of a “fiscal nightmare,” while Pernia said federalism would “wreak havoc.”
In a Facebook post, Aquino said: “Let us be clear now and let our President speak with a convincing baritone that he wishes Congress to pass a federal constitution — if indeed he wishes it so rather than in quavering falsetto.”
“If he [Duterte] favors federalism, let him sack Dominguez and Pernia or command them to keep their traps shut,” Aquino said.
But Aquino said his Facebook post does not reflect the entire view of the 22-member Con-com as his sentiments were personal.
On the other hand, Aquino stressed that “freedom of expression does not apply to Cabinet officials in respect to policy.”
“Let’s stop fooling ourselves. If Dominguez and Pernia, in their official capacities, speak loudly against Federalism, then the question should be asked in all earnestness whether the President is for it or not,” Aquino said.
“The way things are going, Dominguez and Pernia may merely be paving the way for a subsequent Presidential announcement that ‘I have been advised by my economists that federalism is as bad for our national health as smoking is to a person,’” he said.
Likewise, if Duterte was now “cool” to federalism, Aquino said that he should “give the order to abandon the federalist ship.”
“Then all of us fools who wrote the draft and defended it with all our might will know that we have been taken for a ride — for a very expensive ride — but we shall at least have the chance to abandon ship before it is scuttled,” he said. /jpv