By Bernadette D. Nicolas, December 14 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to Business Mirror

FORMER Consultative Committee (Con-com) Chairman Reynato S. Puno on Thursday branded as nothing but “sham federalism” a resolution approved by the House on the proposed shift to a federal form of government.   

Puno, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who headed the body created by President Duterte to review the 1986 Charter, said the committee has agreed to reject the endorsement of Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 15, which was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives on Tuesday. 

“What they [lawmakers] established is a unitary system without the ban of political dynasties and with unlimited term of office. They did not establish a federal government and it’s constituent states. They did not divide the powers of government between the two. Hence, they are peddling a unitary government dressed as federalism. It is a sham and a shame,” Puno said in a text message to the BusinessMirror. He added they have decided to “inform the people of the sham federalism being peddled by the House.”  “We will do it individually and through coalitions with kindred groups,” Puno said, even as he admitted he is yet to discuss the issue neither with the President nor the Senate. 

“We are doing this on our own,” he said. “Technically, we have been disbanded after submission of the draft federal Constitution,” he conceded.

Puno, however, said he still believes that the President continues to support the Con-com draft based on his statements. Meanwhile, another former Con-com member and former Senate President Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr. said that charter passed by the House was “good for Gloria, not for the country,” referring to now House Speaker and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. 

He also pointed out that the charter did not impose a ban on political dynasties and it has also no clear commitment to federalism. “The Con-com is done with its work. The ball is in the hands of Congress [both Houses]. Con-com can continue informing the people about what it had actually recommended to the President,” he told the Business-Mirror via SMS.  Lone female Con-com member and lawyer Susan Ubalde-Ordinario also expressed her disgust on the House charter. 

“Well, they’re all amazing intellects in the House of Representatives. It takes them only three days to deliberate a charter that took Con-com 4 1/2 months to draft,” she said. “Of course, it was never their intention to study how to serve the best interest of the 110 million Filipinos, only the vested interest of 290 plus House members. So how difficult can that be?”

Last July the Con-com submitted its proposed draft federal charter to the President.