"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Keeping Them Honest Or Let The Traitors Prevail?

A Jaywalking Cyber Pedestrian Observer response to Professor Abueva in his critic of the Urgent Appeal to GO Senators-Elect, by Enteng Romano at the OFW-Gov yahoo group.

The reality is we are under this present pathetic political system and their mandate was on the premise and perception of voters that they will oppose the cheating errr seating president for its excesses. I say Keeping them honest or let the traitors prevail is a better alternative than changing the system structural or whatever goobledydook they want to call it.

Are we then going to ask for a change in our senatong representation by region because as you have said there is no clear definition of their mandate? Let me quote Fidel Umaga's article featured at Pedestrian Observer and here titled

"If I remember it right, these people rode on the crest of the people's rejection of and repugnance to the national policies of the sitting President. The people opted to express their strong disapproval to the current administration by rejecting almost all of its national candidates but for Ed Angara and Joker Arroyo, while Administration's local bets swamped the Opposition almost all over the country. Migs Zubiri's case is an exemption not because he, like Angara and JokerArroyo, had been rewarded by the Filipino People with their affection. He was not. His stellar rise to national leadership seems to be by the grace (or disgrace) of the Comelec Chair, Abalos and his pawn, Lintang Bedol, the Emir of Maguindanao."

How will changing the political representation be for the better if we still have unbedolable (unbelievable) people that are so "incompetent" and his unaccountable manner of "safekeeping" CoCs then spitting at our face showing off his arsenal daring us to get him. Will it be any different, will your new system transform crooks into saint just because you want to dress them up as angels?

It's amazing that instead of keeping our politicians honest to their avowed "principles" and accountable to the people that voted them we see some sectors blabbering about change of the system...... I agree that we badly need change but all these changes are useless if we are just re-arranging the power sharing of the ruling minority elite. If these present crap errrr crop of politicians are breaking and bending the rules to suit their ulterior motives what good is a new system?

I would like to believe that autonomy of regions will usher in a new era in good governance but the experience in Midanao where the leaders are now in detention for corruption and the way they conduct unBedolable (unbelievable) election makes me really leery..... How about you do you think Mr. Abueva's "structural" change will do the trick?
Reinvent the Senate, Change the System
By Jose V. Abueva

Institute of Federal-Parliamentary Democracy
Kalayaan College

It is fashionable to criticize the opposition and GO senators who are supporting the reelection of Manny Villar as Senate President, because TU and other pro-Administration senators are also supporting him. Villar is being called a traitor.

The argument is that all the opposition senators have a common popular mandate against the Arroyo Administration. Therefore, together they should be the majority faction in the Senate and their main function is to oppose, and guard against the abuse of power by, the administration. This is a simplistic and negative way of defining the electoral mandate of the opposition in the Senate.

But what do the opposition senators stand for individually and collectively? Their separate party platforms aside, for they did not run on those platforms, the opposition senators are either for Manny Villar, or Mar Roxas, or Loren Legarda, or some other one of them for president in 2010. They do not have a common platform or program of government as a coalition or alliance in our presidential system. For the most part, they are individual personalities with shifting allegiances, because our presidential system does not develop parties of principle and programs that are responsible and accountable to the people, asin a parliamentary system.

On the fundamental issues of constitutional reform, the opposition senators are mostly noncommittal, or against Charter change on the form and/or the structure of governance, or unclear on the timing and mode of changing the Constitution. They seem to say that there is nothing basically wrong with ourpresidential and unitary political system. They are in effect saying that real problem is the leaders of the Arroyo Administration and their allies in Congress. If in 2010 the opposition is able to elect one of their leaders as President and to capture a majority of the seats in the House and the Senate, everything will be fine with the country.

Never mnd our sad experience with our dysfunctional political system that has helped prevent the solution of our basic problems and left us far behind our progressive neighbors in Asia.

The opposition is in denial about the condition of our Senate. The combined outcome of the senatorial elections in 2004 and 2007 makes the Senate in the 14th Congress very lop-sided in its geographic membership: 19 or 20 of the 23 senators are from Luzon; only two or three from the Visayas; and only two from Mindanao. (Should we count Lacson for the Visayas?)

If we were to continue with a bicameral Congress it would be better to elect the senators in autonomous regions that could promote equitable regional and local development and empower our citizens nationwide. This way there would also be equitable representation of the regions as in the presidential-federal system in the United States where every one of the 50 states elects two senators to the U.S. Senate.

Better still, we should have a unicameral Parliament combined with Autonomous Regions in an evolving federal system. Why have an autonomous region only for Muslim Mindanao? Why not in all the regions?

The Autonomous Regions should each have a Regional Assembly (a regional parliament) composed of all the provincial governors in the autonomous region. Every Regional Assembly will elect two of its members who will sit in the national Parliament to represent, protect and advance the interests of all theAutonomous Regions. There is no need for a nationwide election of senate.

We should decentralize and devolve our highly centralized unitary and presidential system that concentrates political power and government authority in the National Government (the President, the Senate and the House of Representatives) in the National Capital Region which is far from most parts ofthe country.

In other words, a change in the form and structure of our government will have major consequences for the quality of governance, the development of the country as a whole, and the welfare of our citizens.

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