f all the things that would happen under a Unicameral Parliamentary system, taking away the right to vote for national leaders -- the President, Vice President and Senators -- seems to me the most objectionable. But nothing could be clearer. The replacement of the Bicameral Presidential system means a radical reduction in everyone's Right of Suffrage. That is the essentially elitist, and possibly fascist goal of the present Charter Change movement that its proponents have succeeded in obscuring from direct public view.
Chit Pedrosa, columnist of the Philippine Star, told ABSCBN News' Ces Drilon last night that she has been passionately working on Charter Change for a switch to the Unicameral Parliamentary system, because "only the popular candidates get elected to national positions even if they are mostly unqualified." Her crusade began with President Fidel Ramos, facing the end of his one and only six-year term, when they launched the first "People's Initiative" on the Constitution with the single purpose of lifting term limits so he could run again. Sensing the self-serving nature of this First Chacha, Media and Civil Society opposed FVR's desire for a second term, but would live to regret it. Miriam Defensor Santiago, who claims to have been cheated by FVR in the 1992 Presidential elections, stopped him and the Pirma People's Initiative in the Supreme Court case Santiago vs. Comelec (which has purportedly been reversed recently by a single sentence in a Minute Resolution of the Supreme Court!) The Media and Civil Society folks that opposed him in that First Chacha of 1997 were certainly abashed by what immediately happened next. In the 1998 Presidential elections then Vice President Joseph Estrada, buried his opponent -- then and still, House Speaker Jose de Venecia -- in a popular electoral landslide.
Realizing they hated Erap even more than FVR and JDV, and for very good reasons, that same Media and Civil Society helped to put GMA in power in the Regime Change of 2001. But don't be fooled. It wasn't "People Power" mainly that got rid of Erap in the end. It was the Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. himself, together with Gen. Angelo Reyes, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Cory Aquino GMA, and aforementioned Media and Civil Society personalities, who, in Mob Rule and Coup D'etat assembled, decided what was really good for the 80 million Filipino people. Together, they conspired to, and succeeded in aborting an ongoing Senate Impeachment Trial of then President Joseph Estrada by the simple expedient of then Supreme Court Chief Justice Davide appearing at a religious shrine along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue with then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and suddenly swearing her in as President on the basis of HER claim that the President was permanently disabled as of 20 January 2001. Two months later, in the March, 2001 landmark decision, Estrada vs. Arroyo, penned by now Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the Supreme Court absolved itself and everybody else of ignoring the Constitution's explicit provisions on Presidential succession in January, 2001 by inventing a Deus-ex-Machina--"Constructed Resignation" or was it "Constructive Resignation". I have to look it up. After the Supreme court declared the overthrow of Joseph Estrada as "Constitutional throughout" the same aforementioned Media and Civil Society called it "the Edsa II People Power Revolution".
However, even after deposing Erap, the Problem of the Popular Idiot being elected to the Presidency remained. Indeed, the Intendencia immediately viewed the candidacy of Fernando Poe Jr. as another instance of "mere popularity" acing out some other purported virtue, like competence or experience which GMA certainly had in spades over FPJ. Her immediate problem was solved by Garci. But when Bunye's Bungle blew the lid on Garci, it threw the country into a political crisis that has not yet ended. With GMA teetering on the very brink of voluntary resignation, FVR and JDV construed and carpediemed their opportunity to control and shape events. Offering the solid stone wall of the House against a looming impeachment over the Garci revelations, Speaker Joe and FVR thought they had her on a string as she suddenly backed Charter Change initiatives as the centerpiece of her July 2005 State of the Nation Address. It was suddenly deja vu all over again with a People's Initiative launched to adopt a Unicameral Parliamentary system.
Here was a more systematic means of preventing the election of another Joseph Estrada to the Presidency by severely curtailing the people's right of suffrage and restricting them to electing purely local leaders. If they would vote for Idiots, in other words, take away that Right to Vote! But taking away national voting rights is an essentially elitist refusal to accept the chaff with the democratic wheat. As we all know the Second Chacha also failed right on the steps of the Supreme Court. Here is my detailed analysis of both legal landmark events showing how the two People's Initiatives were ruled unconstitutional for being Insufficient in form, one for not having the signatures with the initiative petition, the other for not having the initiative text with the signatures!
The Con-Ass Campaign and Teddy Boy Unilateralism
Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin has been saying very much the same things as Chit Pedrosa and Bhel Cunanan on charter change, and has led the charge to justify and rationalize a new way of accomplishing what FVR and the Pedrosas had failed to do with Pirma and what GMA and JDV have failed to do with Lambino/Sigaw and the Second People's Initiative.
Together with Constantino Jaraula, Butch Pichay and Luis Villafuerte, Teddy Boy Locsin launched a most interesting campaign upon the novel Unilateralist Theory that with the right numbers, the House could resolve to convene the Congress into a Constituent Assembly for the purpose of proposing changes to the Constitution.
Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin poses a rhetorical question about Constituent Power that I think captures the conceptual foundation, the ideological kernel if you will of the Unilateralist Programme by expressing the philosophy that justifies the House move to abolish the Bicameral-Presidential system and establish a Unicameral Parliament. (This is a very short clip, 24 seconds, so you may want to play it several times to understand the points that follow.)
Teddy Boy Locsin is asking "If we can propose to abolish the Presidency and the Supreme Court, why do we need the Senate's permission to propose abolition of the Senate?" The basis of for these seemingly awesome powers is of course the 1987 Chacha Provision in which the first few words really say it all...
Art. XVII Section 1. ANY amendment to, or revision of this Constitution may be proposed by (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A Constitutional Convention.In Ed Lacierda's comments on Teddy Boy's point to ABSCBN News' Twink Macaraeg, he believes that the reason the House cannot abolish the Senate is that they both possess the Constituent Power, but I'm not sure I see why that means the Senate cannot be abolished in a ratified new Constitution. Instead I submit that if both Houses concur, the Congress CAN propose to abolish both or either the House and the Senate, and the Presidency and the Supreme Court as Teddy Body says, since the Constituent power is almost unlimited. Although it is virtually impossible that the present Senate would agree to their effective abolition in the switch to a unicameral parliamentary system, there is nothing that prevents a future Senate, that may, for reasons of its own or the conditions of its hour upon the stage of history, agree to adopt a new form of government in which it indeed disappears after ratification by the people.
Teddy Boy Locsin, Constantino Jaraula, Luis Villafuerte and Butch Pichay all apparently believe that the Constitution vests the Constituent Power NOT in The Congress but in all the individual Members of The Congress. I believe this is the premise for Teddy Boy's rhetorical exasperation at the House having to seek the Senate's permission to abolish it. In his view three-fourths of all the Members of the Congress is ALL that is needed for the Congress to propose some change to the Constitution, like abolishing the Presidency, the Supreme Court or the Senate. But Teddy Boy and the Unilateralists mistake what the Constitution plainly establishes to be a NECESSARY condition (the three fourths voting rule) for a SUFFICIENT one to exercise the constituent power.
The Congress may propose ANY change, but it must do it as the Congress! Doing it as individual Members of the Congress leads precisely to the absurdity that Teddy Boy was expostulating about with Butch Pichay and Korina Sanchez. If we assume however that the Constituent Power is vested in the Congress and not its individual Members, not even a proposal to abolish both Houses of the Congress is a priori disallowed which is what the establishment of a Unicameral Parliament amounts to.
I must thank Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin for producing the question that actually reduces to an absurdity the premise of the unilateralists and unicameralists that the Constituent power is an individual right or power.
Who's side is Teddy Boy Locsin on? I'm beginning to wonder if what we are seeing in him is a very special kind of "performance art" by which he is actually demolishing the Majority's philosophical foundation from within with his implacable logic and mastery of the English language in dropping certain bombshells.
Like, "Face it Butch, this thing is dead "