Wednesday, February 15, 2006


We would like to reprint the Makati Business Club's take on Charter Change. It is informative and gives us a look into how the corporate community is viewing the subject:

MBC believes that a change in the form of government from Presidential to Parliamentary is a serious matter that must not be rushed into for the political convenience of a few. Thus, MBC advocates that a Constitutional Convention be convened to consider the matter from a long term perspective of what is in the best interest of the nation in an atmosphere of calm deliberation.

A parliamentary system requires certain prerequisites such as a strong, disciplined, and principled political system which does not exist currently and which will take tine to develop. It must be noted that under a parliamentary system, the executive and legislative powers are fused in a parliament giving the Prime Minister more extensive powers than the President now enjoys under our Constitution. Moreover, the checks and balances present in the presidential form will be lost, concentrating too much power in the hands of transactional type politicians.

There is no need to throw out the whole Constitution, when a few amendments will suffice. We recommend the following:

(1) The President’s and Vice President’s term be limited to four years, with one re-election allowed as in the past.

(2) The President and Vice President should come from the same party.

(3) Revert to the two party system and pass measures that will penalize turncoatism.

(4) If a multiparty system is maintained, then a run-off election for President and Vice President must be provided when none of the candidates achieve a clear majority.

(5) The provisions or restrictions on economic activities should be removed from the Constitution and made a matter of law that Congress can amend, revise or repeal as the need arises to meet changing conditions and global competition.

The issue of the integrity of the electoral results and the legitimacy of the President are separate from the question of Constitutional amendments and should thus be addressed accordingly.

First, the search for the truth behind the “Hello Garci” tapes should be pursued relentlessly and resolved. The failure to resolve this and establish a new standard of ethics among political candidates and the COMELEC may result in a free-for-all, no-holds-barred unethical open line of communication between the COMELEC and candidates in future elections which may put all electoral results under an even bigger cloud of doubt.

Second, the means by which to address the issue of the legitimacy of the President and the connection to the “Hello Garci” tapes are already established in the current Constitution. For instance, the genuine pursuit of an impeachment complaint filed by the proper parties and given due course in Congress is one such way of putting a closure to the issue.

Third, there should be electoral reforms and sweeping change in the COMELEC accompanied by the immediate release of the Ombudsman’s findings in the case filed against the Comelec officials responsible for the failed automation of the electoral process. In the light of the Supreme Court’s decision declaring the aforesaid automation contract null and void and the recent call by the Senators for the incumbent Chairman and Commissioners, except Justice Brawner, to resign, we urge them to do so out of delicadeza.

In closing, we take a very strong and unequivocal stand against the “no election” proposal originally submitted by the Consultative Commission. We are against the deferral or cancellation of any scheduled election. The move is immoral, undemocratic and unconstitutional and illustrates a frame of mind which would be disastrous in a parliamentary form of government.

In sum, let us not mix issues which only serves to cause more confusion and distract attention away from our current crisis. The quest for truth must continue and have priority while the search for Constitutional amendments must be pursued separately with care and deliberation.

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