Malacañang on Friday shot down a call for the parliamentary system of government in the Philippines.
The Manila Times earlier cited a suggestion to abolish the Congress and the Presidency, saying such system of government remained the best way the country could curb corruption. It noted that that presidential system had created an opportunity for corruption among the political office holders in the country.
The Aquino government, however, said that these are not enough reasons to shift from a presidential to a parliamentary form of government, which is headed by a prime minister directly accountable to the legislature.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said that the solution lies not in shifting to another form of government but in choosing the right solution to address the nation’s problems.
”The solution to corruption is not to change the form of government. It is more complex that that,” he said.
”We can start by alleviating poverty and dismantling the culture of political patronage,” Abad added.
Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., likewise, reiterated the Aquino government’s standing firm against moves to have the Constitution amended.
He noted that shifting to a parliamentary form of government is not needed.
”That requires charter change which we do not support, but we respect the right of advocates to promote their cause,” Coloma added.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that the initiative to revise or amend the Constitution, which includes changing the form of government, must only come from Congress.
Senators say no, too
Senators have expressed doubts that a shift from the presidential to the parliamentary form of government will help address the country’s corruption problem, noting that there are a number of things that should be taken into consideration.
Senate deputy minority leader Vincete Sotto 3rd said that such a move requires thorough studies and find first if the system will be effective in addressing the corruption problem of the country.
“Will it solve corruption? Will it change the attitude of people blaming congress when other branches of government are at fault?” Sotto asked.
Senator Francis Escudero also sees no reason to abolish congress and the presidency because of the pork barrel scandal hounding the government, noting that President Benigno Aquino 3rd is not that one who is being implicated in the controversy.
He added that even if members of the congress are ones being blamed for the alleged misuse of public funds, calls to have the institution abolished could be unfair considering that no lawmakers have been convicted yet.
“What if they (lawmakers) were found innocent of the allegation?” he asked.
Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th, however expressed belief that the problem lies not in the system of government but in the “corrupt” people running it.
For Senator Gregorio Honasan, the decision to change the form of government should come from the people and not the legislators.
The legislators, according him, must make sure that any change should be in accordance of the constitution and always for the good and welfare of the majority of the people.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito is also not in favor of the idea saying that what the government needs is to look for an effective way to address corruption without changing the present form of government.