Prime Minister or President?

Eric Ariel Salas

Eric Ariel Salas

Cha-cha has come out in the news again. Charter change, that is. Opposing Philippine politicians are in a brawl once more, debating the need to shift from a presidential, bicameral system to a unicameral, parliamentary form of government.

So, which is preferable? Should the Filipino people retain this current presidential form of government or should we try the parliamentary system? Here is my viewpoint on the issue, which the press people, either print or TV, have been feasting on for so long now.

Changing the present form of government into parliamentary is not beneficial at all. It cannot be denied though that most of the countries in Southeast Asia, if not all of Asia, are into the parliamentary system. Except the Philippines. If one listens to the elected government officials in the administration camp, they’d spiel that the proposed system is better than what the Filipinos have at present. Would we swallow their words if these public officials say that all progressive countries employ the parliamentary form of government, with the USA as an exemption? Truth be told, in that regard, they are correct.

However, I still object to the change. It happened once, at the time of the late dictator, President Ferdinand Marcos, when parliamentary form was introduced. My generation had not been born yet that time. But history records never lie. The result of the shifting was harsh and beyond moronic. As expected, it resulted in a dictatorial government.

The argument that parliamentary form works in any country is a cock-and-bull story, a lie, a simple maneuver to get the people’s trust. It worked in Thailand and other countries; therefore, it must work as well in the Philippines. Wrong logic! Basic concept of logic says that for two statements to be logically equivalent, they must always have the same truth-value. In this case, they do not.

Countries with parliamentary forms of government possess a strong historical foundation. They had good bedrock to which they base their system upon. Unfortunately, no matter how deep we go to search for that strong foundation in my country, we just do not have it.

One factor that may hinder the changing is the fact that we Filipinos behave differently. We change minds at every tick of the clock. We are readily persuaded to a point of surrendering our very own will. Putting a Prime Minister (PM) in a parliamentary form of government is based upon the ‘vote of confidence’. If we do not like the PM, we could easily take him out of office. Aren’t we Filipinos afraid we might be changing leaders ever so often because of our attitude toward public office? We have done that even in our current presidential form!

Changing the form of government is not de rigueur for the country’s rise to development. If these cha-cha fanatics won’t stop bugging (or begging) then they must do what they can to disseminate proper information and let the people, especially the masses, fully grasp and accept whatever advantage points the parliamentary form of government has. Many would oppose if they don’t understand.

As for now, I go for the status quo. There is no need to revise or amend the Philippine Constitution because, as I see it, it has become a divisive move to the detriment of the country.

#1.882516:2780114954.jpg:ericsalace.jpg:Eric Ariel L. Salas, Foreign Eyes: