Ship of fools

President Duterte receives proposed federal constitution of Consultative Committee

Were they fools duped into boarding the “federalist ship,” and drafting and defending a constitution that would supposedly bring into fruition President Rodrigo Duterte’s oft-repeated claim that a shift to a federal form of government would accelerate the development of the country’s poorest regions? At least one member of the Duterte-appointed Consultative Committee (Con-Com), who helped write the draft that’s now in Congress, is beginning to think so.

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No better time than never

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno says this is the “better time” to shift to a federal form of government. He didn’t say what he was comparing today with (a better time than when?). But he did claim that it’s because there’s enough public support to realize it.

Puno didn’t say this because the public opinion polls say so. No survey on what people think of federalism has so far established if there is indeed widespread support for it. The former chief justice instead based this assessment on the results of the 2016 presidential elections, which Rodrigo Duterte won with 16 million votes.

Since Duterte the candidate made the shift to a federal government from the present unitary form one of the planks of what passed for his campaign platform, Puno concludes that his victory indicates popular support for federalism.

Read moreNo better time than never