A Netizen’s Commentary on the ConCom’s proposed Federal Constitution (Part V)

Before reading the last part, click here (Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV) to get the picture.

In this last section, I will comment on the last sections of the ConCom draft and hand the verdict.


 

Article XIV. Accountability of Public Officers

 

SECTION 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.
SECTION 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Federal Supreme Court, Federal Constitutional Court, Federal Administrative Court, Federal Electoral Court, and the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law but not by impeachment. (emphasis mine)

Are you f**king serious?! The word “may” led to the technicality to the quo warranto against their Chief Justice Sereno last May and not through impeachment. Hindi kayo natuto, ConCom! And then this…

SECTION 3. There shall be a Joint Impeachment Committee to be created by Congress.
(a) Upon its convening, the Congress shall constitute a Joint Impeachment Committee to be composed of the President of the Senate and twelve Members from each house. The Senate President shall act as its Presiding Officer and shall not vote except to break a tie.
(b) The Members of the Committee shall be elected by each house on the basis of proportional representation of the political parties in each house.
(c) The Committee shall be organized in accordance with the rules promulgated by each House. The Committee shall promulgate its own rules and procedures.
(d) Any impeachment complaint shall be filed directly with the Committee, which shall determine whether the complaint is sufficient in form and substance.
(e) Upon finding that the complaint is sufficient in form and substance, the Committee shall determine the existence of probable cause.
(f) If by majority vote, the Committee finds probable cause, it shall issue an indictment resolution together with the Articles of Impeachment and file it before the Federal Constitutional Court or the Federal Administrative Court, as the case may be.

Under the current Charter, the House must need one-third of its members to pass an article to impeachment before the Senate. The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, needs two-thirds of their vote to convict at least one article. This happened once, with Corona.

But under this version, just one committee but no vote in their respective houses. Sa Brazil, two-thirds of each house, bistado ka na (see Dilma Rousseff in 2016)!

By the way, what happened if the Regional officers made a culpable violation of their respective offices? Where on their sphere will their process of accountability go?

Article XV. National Economy and Patrimony

This article is not good and should be reconsidered.

SECTION 2. All lands of the public domain, waters, minerals, coal, petroleum, and other mineral oils, all forces of potential energy, fisheries, forests or timber, wildlife, flora and fauna, and other natural resources are owned by the State and shall not be alienated.

And you’re selling to China?

Section 3, protectionism on land.

On Section 5,

The marine wealth of the nation which lies in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone is reserved exclusively to Filipino citizens.
In cases of water rights for irrigation, water supply, fisheries, or industrial uses other than the development of waterpower, beneficial use may be the measure and limit of the grant. Cooperative fish farming, with priority to subsistence fishermen and fish workers in rivers, lakes, bays, and lagoons shall be allowed and protected.

Tell that to the current officials.

SECTION 12. (a) The ownership and management of mass media shall be limited to citizens of the Philippines, or to corporations, cooperatives or associations, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens.

(b) The Congress shall regulate or prohibit monopolies in commercial mass media when the public interest so requires. No combinations in restraint of trade or unfair competition therein shall be allowed.
(c) The advertising industry is impressed with public interest, and shall be regulated by law for the protection of consumers and the promotion of the general welfare.
(d) Only Filipino citizens or corporations or associations at least seventy percent of the capital of which is owned by such citizens shall be allowed to engage in the advertising industry.
(e) The participation of foreign investors in the governing body of entities in such industry shall be limited to their proportionate share in the capital thereof, and all the executive and managing officers of such entities must be citizens of the Philippines.

Guys, it’s 2018 and you didn’t learn from the Rappler-SEC fiasco last January. Cut that provision already or better yet, I think, at least twenty percent must be owned by citizens of the Philippines.

SECTION 18. The State shall promote the preferential use of Filipino labor, domestic materials, and locally produced goods, and adopt measures that help make them competitive.
SECTION 19. The State shall pursue a trade policy that serves the general welfare and utilizes all forms and arrangements of exchange on the basis of equality and reciprocity.
SECTION 20. The sustained development of a reservoir of national talents consisting of Filipino scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, professionals, managers, high-level technical manpower, and skilled workers and craftsmen in all fields shall be promoted by the State. The State shall encourage appropriate technology and regulate its transfer for the national benefit.
SECTION 21. The practice of all professions in the Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens except for those covered by International Agreements with reciprocity features and those prescribed by Federal law.

CUT THESE INCOMPATIBLE PROVISIONS OFF! It’s the era of globalization not isolationism.

SECTION 22. The Congress shall not, except by general law, provide for the formation, organization, or regulation of private corporations. Government-owned or controlled corporations may be created or established by special charters in the interest of the common good and subject to the tests of economic viability.

Pray tell, what happened to the GOCCs that are financially adverse? Does that constitute economic viability? Go to IBC 13 in Old Balara or Quedancor and take a closer look of their state.

Article XVI. Social Justice

That’s up for you to decide.

Article XVII. Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports

Who’s responsibility belongs to this article? The federal Government or the Regional Government?

Section 6 and 7 would dishearten diverse languages and would demand equal respect as the stated official languages. Where’s Spanish and Arabic, the optional languages?

Article XVIII. The Family

This article of the Consitution, like in effect now, is distinct among other constitutions, believing that the family is the basic unit of the society.

However, there are current issues arising from the article such as same-sex marriage and divorce.

Article XIX. National Security and Public Order

Inasmuch as I like the Armed Forces and Coast Guard to be in a federal sphere, the Police Force shall be dual: a Federal and a Regional One.

Article XX. Amendments and Revision

Finally, the Congress mode has clarified what the current Consitution lacks — 3/4 of all members, voting separately.

However, I think the ratification of amendment or revision must put to a vote by the majority of Filipino voters and it must be approved by majority or 2/3 of all regions, just like Australia.

I think Section 5 should omit the last sentence or amend it to within 3 years.

Article XXI. Transitory Provisions

The most tricky part. But then I heard that Duterte can become President until 2030 if he will run in 2022. But I would definitely say NO.

Verdict

Although the final draft will be submitted to the President and would be recommended by Congress in the forthcoming SONA, assuming there was no change, it will be decided in a national plebiscite in toto and not by piecemeal, I would say for a NO.

This is not just because of the constant advantage of the executive power like Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War but because of my aforementioned negative consequences of some mechanisms, retaining restrictions on industries, and the wording that would tolerate loopholes as they never learned any mistakes.

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