Federalism, war on crime top Duterte legislative agenda
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III is flying to Davao City next week to discuss with presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte the legislative agenda of the new administration, including setting up a federal form of government and passing a budget reflective of an “all-out war against crime, drugs and corruption.”
Pimentel, who heads PDP-Laban, the party of Duterte, told the Inquirer on Thursday he intended to present the legislative agenda of the Duterte administration to his colleagues in the Senate right after the Commission on Elections proclaims the new senators at the weekend.
As for discussions on the configuration of the new Senate leadership under the Duterte administration, Pimentel said this would come “naturally.”
But he said there was a need for a coalition in the Senate that would be “among and between parties based on programs of government and principles and not based on personalities.”
“For me, that is the ideal situation,” he said in a phone interview.
Pimentel said the next administration’s legislative agenda would be lifted mostly from the programs of government outlined by PDP-Laban and pronouncements made by Duterte.
That is why, he said, the other senators should not be surprised if there would be a push for a Constitutional Commission “to comprehensively review the 1987 Constitution and adopt a federal form of government.”
Pursuit of change
Duterte, during the campaign, had vowed to pursue a change in the form of government to federalism.
Pimentel said they wanted to “start (the process) as soon as possible,” or “early in the Duterte administration.”
Part of the legislative agenda is to ensure the budget law would reflect Duterte’s “all-out war against crime, drugs and corruption.”
Duterte said he would end criminality in three to six months.
But he also said he would work to make food more affordable through measures that would lower food prices and give people more cash with the overhaul of income tax brackets.
Pimentel said he intended to present the finalized legislative agenda to his fellow senators so they could study it.
“So that the legislative priority of the administration will be clear to them and they could see how their personal priorities fit in or other personal advocacies conflict with the administration priority,” he said.
The meeting with the senators would also gauge their sentiments, and obtain their support for the new president, Pimentel said.
He cited the need to strengthen and protect the relationship between Duterte and the Senate.
Reelected Sen. Vicente Sotto, of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, said he was looking forward to an “independent Senate in a working relationship with the new president.”
The come-backing Panfilo Lacson said he would align himself with a group “willing to adopt/embrace” his budget reform advocacy that would give local government units “their just and fair share of next year’s more than P3.3 trillion national budget.”
“I have actually discussed my budget reform with a number of prospective members of both houses of the next Congress who committed to push for its legislation,” he said.
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