COMMENTARY

Death of a salesman: Duterte does not sell federalism anymore

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Wonder no more why Rodrigo Duterte has stopped selling to the electorate federalism, his pet advocacy before he declared that he was running for President of the Philippines.

Duterte, mayor of Davao City, has apparently come to his senses that a federal system of government in place of a parliamentary one would not fly especially with political players who do not want their trapo ways to be eroded a bit, that’s why.

Or to put it more bloodily, these traditional politicians are not about to make themselves stupid enough to commit hara-kiri by sharing lawmaking when lawbreaking is already a profitable job under the status quo.

Under federalism, both the national government and the smaller political subdivisions have the power to make laws and both have a certain level of autonomy from each other.


This apparent mutual respect for the relative independence of the central organs from the local ones and vice-versa is anathema to what the trash-talking presidential wannabe, emerging straight from the OK Corral, had continued to peddle even after presumably realizing that the federal system of government is a mismatch to his platform of death that only Dirty Harry would approve of.

Missing the forest for the trees, Duterte in his campaign sorties regales the gullibly naïve with a vow to end criminality in these parts in three to six months if he is elected to succeed President Benigno Aquino 3rd in Malacañang.

Of course he did not say if it is going to happen in the first quarter or the first half of his first 365 days in Malacañang or in the second or the third year, even if it is wishful thinking for him to entertain the thought of actually winning in next month’s local and national elections.

If the mayor failed to deliver on his promise in September or December this year, he would do a Miriam and say that he lied or his audiences in his barnstorming of this already violent land were not listening when he announced his timeline for founding Shangri-la this side of Mamasapano and Kidapawan.

Rising above Duterte’s bombast on giving mortuaries brisk business out of the supposed cadavers of suspected criminals, whom he had said repeatedly he was going to wipe out from the face of the earth are his sober and presumably law-abiding and God-fearing rivals in the May 2016 presidential derby.

Independent candidate Sen. Grace Poe, Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance and the administration Liberal Party’s Manuel Roxas 2nd have stood up against the Davao City mayor’s chilling scenario of extra-judicial executions of what in his “judgment” are dregs of society.

FYI, Mr. Mayor, they actually are the wretched of the earth, making them slim pickings, as the Vice President had pointed out.

The other candidates for President – except Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago – all tell Duterte off that poverty begets crime and, by giving people opportunities to be not idle and be productive instead, jobs are the best deterrent to their supposedly criminal minds.

Not shockingly, the good mayor has not even interspersed his brief on summary “justice” with teaching marginalized Filipinos to learn how to fish.

Unfortunately, some are more calm and collected than others.

Binay and Roxas have played right into Duterte’s hands, engaging him in name-calling, instead of trying to pacify the Davao City alcalde – also a lawyer in case you want to know and one who is supposed to know how to tell the difference between what is legal and what is not.

But Poe has refused to be ensnared by the apparent trap that Duterte had set for her and the two other contenders for the No. 1 job in the land, saying gainful employment will help solve criminality and promising to generate 1 million jobs a year under her presidency.

Apparently, she is too much of a lady to say anything bad about the gentleman from durian country.

In making patol to the mayor’s perorations on his take-no-prisoner “solution” to combat crime, on the other hand, Binay and Roxas unwittingly gave Duterte added ammunition – and more sound bites – to advance his “crusade” over which Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other monitors this early are already crying bloody murder.

Unsolicited advice to the presidential wannabes: dare Duterte to take part in an intelligent dialogue on federalism and ask him if he is still selling it to replace the system in place and if it sits well with his new product called D-E-A-T-H, which reeks of the Final Solution.

Refusal on the mayor’s part to join the discussion should tell him that it’s time to close his little shop of horrors.

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4 Comments

  1. Duterte cannot fail the Moros. He promised them federalism. His team may have found out that crime fighting and anti-corruption have more traction with voters in the campaign trail. If he wins by landslide, this mandate is power enough to turn the gears towards Federalism. So, win first.

  2. Rod Ybardolaza on

    Perhaps it is more accurate to say that Duterte stopped selling federalism because he realized or someone made him realized that he cannot sell something that doesn’t belong to him.
    Changing the form of government is not within the power of a president. That can only be done through Charter Change, either by Con-Con or Con-Ass and the initiatives solely rest on Congress. Duterte or his adoptive party, PDP-Laban, controls neither the House of Representative nor the Senate so his federalism is nothing but an empty promise that cannot be realized.

  3. He knows in order for Federalism to succeed a charter change is needed and with it a total tab on Political Dynasty in whatever form at which he is an actively practicing political clan., and under Parliamentary form if government the power of the President would be clipped. Who would want to be a powerless president?

  4. The writer forgot that federalism has been Duterte’s crusade even before he decided to run for president. This program already run in his system ready for implementation should he wins.

    Duterte is not alone in pushing for federalism. FVR and JdV have started it but they failed to convince the public to shift to parliamentary form on suspicion that they are pushing for the charter change for their selfish interest.

    Afterall, if there is any one person who has prodded Duterte to run for president, it is former Pres. Ramos. He has convinced Duterte to run as early as 2014. I learned about this plan in December 2014.