Joint Resolution No. 10 -- introduced in April, 2008 by Sen. Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel-- resolves as follows: (after a raft of whereases):
NOW, THEREFORE, Be it resolved as it is hereby resolved by the Senate with the House of Representatives concurring, upon a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of both Houses voting separately, to convene Congress into a constituent assembly pursuant to Section 1, paragraph 1 of Article XVll of the Constitution, and revise the Constitution for the purpose of adopting a federal system of government that will create 11 States, constitute Metro-Manila as the Federal Administrative Region, and convert the nation into the Federal Republic of the Philippines.Joint Resolution No. 10 also names the eleven "States" that would become united under the new FRP (Federal Republic of the Philippines).
1. The State of Northern Luzon;Commentary:
2. The State of Central Luzon;
3. The State of Southern Tagalog;
4. The State of Bicol;
5. The State of Minparom;
6. The State of Eastern Visayas;
7. The State of Central Visayas;
8. The State of Western Visayas;
9. The State of Northern Mindanao;
10. The State of Southern Mindanao; and
11. The State of BangsaMoro
... in addition to the country's only one center of finance and development in Metro-Manila which shall be constituted as the Federal Administrative Region;
It is a self-evident and significant fact that the above-named eleven "States" do not actually exist as JURIDICAL ENTITIES There is no such thing today as The State of Northern, Central or Southern Luzon, or any of the others, including the "State" of Bangsamoro. Since the proposed Federal Juridical Entity is by definition a union of the enumerated States, it is unavoidable that the above States will have to be created as the separate parts that will unite together in the notional federal republic, a "United States of the Philippines" if you will.
Evidently, Joint Resolution No. 10 envisions the Federal Republic of the Philippines, as a "juridical entity" that is itself a UNION of other juridical entities called 'States' which will unite to create the new federal republic being proposed. And it will be these States that will "ratify" the Federal Constitution.
Can the notional Federal Constitution of the United States of the Philippines even be written and proposed to the people by the Fourteenth Congress of the Unitary Republic of the Philippines? I believe the answer is NO because only the States that will constitute that federal republican union have the authority to enter into and make good that arrangement.
Simply put, the Federalists have to create the States first before the States can create the Union.
Proponents of a shift to federalism often give the example of the United States of America as a model, being the oldest and inarguably the most successful of the genre. But we must confront a most signicant historical difference and future difficulty. Unlike the original Thirteen Colonies which united to form the US of A, the Eleven States of the prospective United States of the Philippines, do not in fact exist as juridical entities today, and as JR.10 states, they must be created simultaneously with the establishment of their Union.
For indeed, where are the Philippine entities that would vote to federate into the Federal Republic of Pimentel? It should be recalled that the American Colonies agreed that their "perpetual union" and the US Federal Constitution would be deemed ratified by all if 9 out of 13 of the States held successful plebiscites favoring the Union.
The Filipino Federalists have their work cut out for them from the git-go. They must first lay the predicate, so to speak, for the proposed FRP by literally creating first the juridical entities, the Eleven States and the Federal Administrative Region (Manila) that will later constitute the Union.
An important question and predicament now intrudes:
Can the Union of States called a "federal republic" by the Joint Resolution come into existence before or simultaneous with the creation of the very entities that have the sole and exclusive power to enter into that said Union? For eample, and not to put too fine a point on it, the United States of America is a union of 50 states, not 300 million citizens. The US Constitution was never ratified in a universal national plebscite since the Thirteen Colonies decided and agreed in 1787 that the Constitution would be deemed ratified if 9 out of 13 states
I think it is a metaphysical impossibility for the Philippine Congress to create and propose the Federal Republic without first creating and proposing the constituent States as enumerated in the Joint Resolution.
How should the prospective Philippine States be defined, created and proposed? We could take the recently controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA AD) defining the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity as a model. To form Eleven States there must be at least eleven plebiscites in which all the persons affected by the establishment of all those eleven new juridical entities must have a chance to ratify or reject the same. In other words, democratic plebiscites must approve of the massive gerrymandering of provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays that has to be undertaken just to create the future constituent States of the envisioned Federal Republic of the Philippines.
Before the Federal Republic can be created, established and ratified by the constituting or federating States, those very States must first be created, established and ratified by the people who will become residents and voters in those States. By parity of reasoning, ALL of the people in the Eleven States enumerated by JR 10 ought to be given the opportunity to decide in plebiscites if THEY want to be part of one or another of this set of Eleven States.
The Palace and Congress have used the concept of requiring popular plebiscites to ratify such rearrangements as the establishment of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, and even in the controverted Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) where barangay-level plebiscites are being propoed to "expand" the territory of the ARMM (though under MILF stewardship and management!)
But it would seem to be a requirement of equitable treatment that if the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) can only be formed after a plebiscite, so too with the other "States." For example, the people in the presently existing provinces whether their people will allow their province to become a part of a proposed "State" of the future federal republic.
I think these and other very basic and simple considerations represent insuperble stumbling blocks for the Federalists...at least those who are in a hurry. The trajectory," (as Press Secretary Jess Dureza is fond of putting it nowadays) involves the Congress convening itself into a Constituent Assembly and crafting a new Federal Constitution of the United States of the Philippines before the Constitutional Clock runs out on Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in May 2010. As I've shown above, I think, there have to be not one but two SETS of PLEBISCITES, those to create the States, and then those to authorize the Union. These processes cannot be combined and made simultaneous, for it would be absurd to suggest that the same plebiscite creating a given State can also decide if that State will join a federation all of whose prospective members are themselves not yet in existence!
Given less than two years to go before the May, 2010 elections, the prospects Fast-tracked Federalism are dim and problematical.