EVEN as a broad range of groups are uniting against attempts to amend the 1987 constitution, former President Fidel V. Ramos made another pitch for charter change, arguing that “the parliamentary system will enable our people to replace an oppressive, corrupt and/or nonperforming chief executive democratically and smoothly.”

That argument was obviously intended for the groups that are seeking the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Ramos said that the current presidential system lacks accountability. “Since the President is accountable directly to the electorate, ” he said, “He/she is in reality answerable to no one the moment he/she gets elected.”

The fixed presidential term, he added, makes impeachment tremendously difficult, allowing presidents to “defy public opinion with impunity.”

This difficulty, he said, gives rise to deep political divisions, endless plotting and the politicization of the armed forces. Said Ramos: “The AFP and the PNP have been — most unfairly — the objects of a constant tug-of-war by various groups, instead of being kept united and undisturbed to effectively protect public safety and our national sovereignty.”

The former president made these statements during a speech delivered Monday at a meeting of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and published yesterday in the Manila Bulletin.

Ramos said there was a growing national consensus toward charter change. But even as he made a ringing endorsement of a parliamentary system and for opening up the country to foreign investments, he was mum on proposals to shift to a federal form of government, which local government officials want.

Earlier this year, after the failed “people power” in February, Ramos had said that his support for President Arroyo was waning. His speech Monday made no mention of the current administration, even as it said that electoral reforms were crucial, whether or not charter change took place.

In an apparent dig at the Arroyo government’s lackadaisical efforts to reform the Commission on Elections and modernize the election system, Ramos called for “a truly autonomous” Comelec “vested with as much majesty and prestige as that which dignifies the Supreme Court.” The current commission remains in the maelstrom of controversy after allegations of fraud during the 2004 elections.

Ramos acknowledged that a parliamentary government was not a cure all or a silver bullet. “It is unlikely to solve quickly our deep-rooted problems of mass poverty, political disunity and unequal access to political power.”

But, he said, a parliamentary government would end the gridlocks between the executive and the legislature and between the two houses of Congress, avoiding such problems as the current Congress’ inability to pass a new budget.

A shift to a new form of government would also encourage the formation of strong parties “because parliamentary government is party government,” Ramos said. He added that it would also prevent the rise to power of politicians based just on “survey ratings and popularity.”

12 Responses to An ex-president’s voice

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tongue in, anew

June 23rd, 2006 at 1:41 am

The fallacy that Ramos espouses, that “the parliamentary system will enable our people to replace an oppressive, corrupt and/or nonperforming chief executive democratically and smoothly” fails miserably in considering the reality that a party-controlled parliament will replace the Parliament leaders if and only if the leaders no longer serve the interests of the party…and not necessarily those of the people’s.

After his hollow threats against GMA a few months back which he failed to pursue, FVR lost it. Not even his suspenseful workings which got a lot of people excited all amounted to nothing. His reputation got the worst beating, instead.

To the old raccoon: it’s time to fade away.

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Toro

June 23rd, 2006 at 10:13 am

“… Ramos said that the current presidential system lacks accountability. “Since the President is accountable directly to the electorate, ” he said, “He/she is in reality answerable to no one the moment he/she gets elected.”

I can’t believe you said that Mr. Ramos! Is that the reason why Gloria admonishes coup leader Honasan to come out and face the law, but she would not face the impeachment because she is not answerable to any one?

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scud_1975

June 23rd, 2006 at 11:08 am

Kasi naman,under our present system, we can only legally replace the President thru impeachment. And in reality, impeachment is number’s game, hindi sa lakas ng ebidensya o bulong ng konsensya sa mga Senators at Congressmen natin. Hanggang nananatili ang ganyang sistema, taon-taon na lang tayo magkakaroon ng impeachment hanggang matapos ang termino na hindi tayo nakakarinig ng ano mang paliwanag sa mga gusto nating itanong. Sabi nga ni Ramos, “She is in reality answerable to no one the moment she gets elected.”

Sa Parliamentary System, may Question Hour. Kahit sinong nasa oposisyon maaring magtanong ng direkta sa Prime Minister.. no holds barred, sa harap ng camera, at napapanood ng mga tao. Kung hindi maayos magpatakbo, eh di palitan. Hindi na kailangan maghintay pa na tapusin ang termino o maghintay ng isang taon para sa impeachment

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Juan Makabayan

June 23rd, 2006 at 11:42 am

“former President Fidel V. Ramos made another pitch for charter change,”

FVR. That’s one big reason why Cha-cha must be rejected.

Billions of people’s money un-accounted for during FVR’s term, reckless liberalization, privatization, globalization …

This trapo should be made to account for the many things he on account of which Filipinos are now suffering.

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INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » Ramos also to blame for Comelec’s woes

June 23rd, 2006 at 11:52 am

[…] IN his speech before the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) last Monday, former President Fidel Ramos criticized the lackadaisical efforts of the Arroyo government to reform the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and modernize the election system. […]

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naykika

June 23rd, 2006 at 10:26 pm

Scud-1975 There is the problem with proposed system as I had reviewed it. The Selection of the PM. It was proposed that the PM is to be selected by the elected members themselves. so it follow that if the PM has the majority of the members (being selected by them) whose going to Question the PM like our Oppositions do here?? Also in our system when our politicians are involved in activities considered and covered by our criminal code there are no immunity for such. The only time they have immnunity is when they are in the house “punching each other noses” for the business of govt. I’m not 100 % sure about this, but I know you’re good with p.c. (i’m still at the keyboard punching stage) check it out. thanks..

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Cecile Impens

June 24th, 2006 at 8:30 pm

Ramos stated: A shift to a new form of government would also encourage the formation of strong parties “because parliamentary government is party government.

In a sense, he is right! Several countries in Europe could prove this! Once a party garnered majority votes, this means they get majority seats. The opposition will have less chance of winning a proposal/amendment in the government system. This scenario will happen if the cha-cha/gloria initiative for a parliamentary government wins. Catastrophic for the Philippines. The death of our democracy!

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Juan Makabayan

June 24th, 2006 at 8:41 pm

“The death of our democracy!”

Parliamentary system is practically party dictatorship. That’s why trapos really like it, especially with the trapos in congress it will be, like what is happening now, a trapo dictatorship — long live trapocracy!? death to democracy!?

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naykika

June 24th, 2006 at 8:50 pm

cecile, I beg to differ on the issue of Parliamentary system where the Government is run by the winning Party. During the campaign period, which is ussually a set number of days as provided by Election Laws, all Parties contesting the Government lay down to the Voters their Programs, their plans, and how they are going to finance them during the mandate. This party policies are prepared and drafted by the party experts behind the scene very carefully. The voters then may vote according to the party programs, the best candidate presented to them, regardless of the Party, or the candidate of the Party Leader they want to be their PM or President. The Governing party then has to follow up and perform as what have been promised during the campaign, otherwise the voters will kick most if not everyone of them the next election. Since in most Parliamentary system do not put a limit on terms, chances are you’ll do your best, so the voters will keep returning you to the Parliament. We have some members here that serve their constituents “forever” and I had seen one being wheel chaired to the house for the vote. Thanks cecile for your patience…

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scud_1975

June 24th, 2006 at 9:15 pm

Naykika, all systems has its flaws. And one of the flaws that we have to swallow in a Parliamentary system is we have to trust our lawmakers to choose the best and the fittest among them as our PM to be, talagang ganun, we can’t remain to be pessimistic everyday. The difference of our lawmakers here in Canada compare to ours in Pinas, they work to earn the trust of the people. Checks and balances are important here too, but if the citizens have no trust in what they’re doing pagdududahan pa rin ang motibo nila sa pagkontra.

Check this out, about Federal Acountability Act..complete with ACTION PLAN. Maganda yung mga links dyan, madaling maintindihan

http://www.faa-lfi.gc.ca/index_e.asp

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Toro

June 24th, 2006 at 9:54 pm

Cecile, you said it yourself that the parliamentary in Europe where the majority party wins also wins the majority of seats, and therefore have dominance over the opposition. Isn’t this exactly what’s happening with our bicameral system where the same majority party winners likewise control the congress? I think this condition of majority rule will happen chacha or no chacha, parliamentary or presidential bicameral.

FVR says parliamentary govt is party govt. Isn’t that exactly what we have today? Do we have to go parliamentary to prove that? Aren’t the Lakas and Christian Democrats the dominant political parties that support the admin to control the party system? So, what is FVR talking about?

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tongue in, anew

June 25th, 2006 at 2:18 am

Ramos’ sudden silence on his insistence for the Doña to relinquish power, while the country shifts to Parliamentary is supect.

At that time last year when he supported Gloria at the most critical hour, Ramos shrewdly found a way to wriggle Gloria out of the mess at the same time the perfect opportunity to give the parliamentary shift a big push. Today, Gloria’s removal is no longer part of his win-win solution. Which only strengthens suspicion that his Lakas-CMD party has other sinister plans to execute after the shift of gov’t.

I’m all for constitutional changes, especially for the scrapping of all economic provisions that allows us little elbow room to respond to the dynamism of the constantly-changing global economy. Let the executive and congress determine the economic direction of the country.

I’m also supportive of a bicameral parliament, not the unicameral type this gov’t is trying to sell. I see a scenario where someone as “generous” as Mark Jimenez becomes Prime Minister. If he can throw away P50M to help Philip Piccio and his co-victims of Yuchengco’s educational plan scam, I wonder how much he’s willing to give a majority of his 240 or so co-congressmen to take him to the highest post. I’m not sure how it works but I’m sure a bicameral parliament will provide the much-needed checks to make sure this scenario won’t happen.

The need to open up the economy to foreign investments, as Ramos endorses, is, I think, trivial. Foreign investments in the country are a mere 10% of the total and is almost the same globally and does not merit all the propaganda Malacañang is giving it. What the country needs are plans on how to put the 12 Billion Dollars Pinoys OFWs are sending home into profitable ventures that will provide employment, taxes, etc. Imagine if all the P630B are invested in the country each year! Even just half of it will do. And the figure grows every year! Who needs foreign investors? We don’t need to rewrite a constitution for that purpose.

He also states the parliamentary shift will not solve quickly our deep-rooted problems of mass poverty, political disunity and unequal access to political power. But he said it will end all political gridlocks. If that’s the case, we don’t need charter change after all, do we? But I know one option that will address these four problems in a huge way: remove Gloria now!

She is the Gridlock – with a capital G.

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