Ex-CJ Puno eyes ‘distinctly Filipino’ federal system
Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno urged on Monday the members of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution (Con-com) to come up with a “distinctly Filipino” model of federalism and not simply “plagiarize” the models available from other countries.
Puno said the body should “devote the most serious thought” on the architectural design of the proposed federal constitution—if it would be a parliamentary, presidential, or hybrid (parliamentary and presidential) form of government.
“There are different models of this structure available off the shelf but there is no model that will perfectly fit the Philippines,” he said in his speech at the first en banc session of the Con-com at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
“If we are to have a homogenous position, it is that we should not plagiarize any federal model, for our model should be distinctly Filipino as it cannot be impassive to our past and indifferent to the present,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted the Philippines to adopt the French model of federalism, where there is a prime minister and a president.
Puno stressed that the country would need a “cooperative” federalism, not competitive, as many regions in the present system, based on current fiscal data, would likely have a hard time transforming into a viable state.
He said that a great number of regions would be ready to “take full steps” to federalism, while others would be able to take only “baby steps” and would need a lot of “handholding.”
“The sense and essence of cooperative federalism is co-active and collaborative efforts of each state to achieve the common goal of all,” he said.
“Cutthroat, unfair and unforgiving competition that could threaten the sustainability of constituent states ought to be prohibited and should invite the intervention of the federal government,” he added. /cbb
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