Teodoro to put Charter change in platform
By Joel Guinto
First Posted 16:03:00 03/26/2009
MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said he will run on a platform of “studied reform” that will include Charter change if he is chosen to be the administration standard bearer in the 2010 elections.
Teodoro said amending the Constitution is “difficult but it must be done” and that the next president would have better chances for a “clear mandate” to push for constitutional reform if the advocacy is made a part of the campaign.
“For me, I think everybody is in agreement that the structure of government, as designed in the 1987 Constitution, has some problems because, rather than build synergy, it builds division. Such is not what the sign[s] of the times need,” he told reporters in Malacañang.
“I think it [Charter change] needs to be talked about, if not changed. So probably the best thing for one who is seeking higher public office in the future to do is to run on that mandate [for Charter change], so one has a clear mandate from the people to pursue it,” he said.
Teodoro said he would push for a unicameral legislature with some areas “federalized” or given “enhanced autonomy.”
The “regional government” would provide basic services while the national government would take care of infrastructure development, national defense, international relations, and monetary systems, he said.
Teodoro did not say categorically whether or not he was for electing delegates to a constitutional convention or convening Congress into a constituent assembly, saying this was up to lawmakers to decide.
But a constitutional convention, he said, could result in a document with “no vision, no direction, no strategy” because of conflicting interests.
Asked if he considered himself as a reformist, Teodoro said: “I guess what I can offer in that sense is a studied reform. I’m also disdainful, sometimes, of the contemporary connotation of what a non-traditional politician is; you know, change just for the sake of change.”
“You need a balance, you need some stability and continuity of policy particularly in structural strategic matters and of course, if there is a need to reform, particularly political reform in the proper way, one has to do [it],” he said.
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