Following the end of the EDSA Revolution of 1986, a new government would be organized, framed by a new Constitution, with the hope that new safeguards within its text could help avoid the resurgence of dictatorship and other assorted problems of governance. It was not perfect however; the fact that the President and the Vice-President of the Philippines were separately elected led to times when candidates from vehemently opposing parties were voted into office, only for conflicts of interest between them to flare up. With talks for a new Federal Constitution happening, that issue stands a chance of being rectified.
CNN Philippines reports that one subject recently brought up in the consultative committee (Con-Com) for transitioning the Philippines into a federal government concerns the “drama” of having a President and Vice-President that could not work together due to different party lines. On Thursday, April 12, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Eduardo Nachura noted that the Con-Com added a provision in its federal constitution draft which stipulated that a Presidential candidate and his running mate must be voted in tandem, ensuring that the top two positions in the national government are occupied by officials from the same party, minimizing executive conflict.
To that end, voters in elections simply select a tandem of presidential/vice-presidential candidates from the ballot, according to Nachura who chairs the subcommittee on federal government structure for the Con-Com. This subcommittee also advocated that the Vice-President is mandated to be appointed to a cabinet position, at which the President has full discretion to choose for him. The cabinet appointment for the VP is then exempt from confirmation and cannot be challenged by the Commission of Appointments. The President must transfer the VP to another cabinet posting if he is ineffective, but only an impeachment can remove him from office.
Other proposed articles for the still-in progress federal constitution include the uniform term of four years for the President, VP, senators and representatives, in the same vein as the US government. This will allow these officials to stand for one re-election. The present 1986 Constitution has the President serving only one six-year term and no more, while the VP can run for re-election just once. Senators can have two consecutive terms while representatives can go for three if re-elected. Discussion is also underway regarding how many federal divisions or “states” will be organized in the country, following the constitution’s adoption.
Former AJ Nachura cited the power struggle between incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte (PDP-Laban) and Vice-President Leni Robredo (Liberal) since taking office in 2016. Following Duterte calling on her to stop attending Cabinet meetings due to policy friction, Robredo later resigned as Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council chairperson in protest.
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