In re: the call for the changing of the Constitution
Let’s call it the “EC SALCEDO FORMULA”
To show utmost sincerity and to clear any doubt of any hidden agenda or ulterior motive on the part of our current leaders, and accepting there is a need to revise our Constitution (but not necessarily to a Parliamentary system – but more importantly to align it with the times) let both Houses of Congress pass a joint resolution calling for the convening of a Constitutional Convention starting on 01 June 2007, with a specific mandate to complete the proposed revision of the Constitution by 31 December 2007, and the election of Delegates to the Constitutional Convention to be made along with the National elections in May 2007. The Delegates included in the national election shall be limited to only one (1) delegate per region, total of 17, who will be supplemented by five (5) from the former Chief Justices or Most Senior Justices of the Honorable Supreme Court, and three (3) from the former Presiding Justices of the Honorable Court of Appeals, to be elected by all former and incumbent members of the Honorable Supreme Court, the Honorable Court of Appeals and by the former and incumbent Executive Judges of the Regional Trial Courts, on or before 31 May 2007; two (2) each from: (a) all former or incumbent Cabinet members with rank of Secretary or Undersecretary, to be elected by all former and incumbent cabinet members as stated on or before 01 May 2007; (b) all former or incumbent Senate Presidents to be elected by all former and incumbent Senators on or before 01 May 2007; and, (c) two former Speakers of the House of Representatives, to be elected by all former officers, i.e., Speaker Pro-tempore, Deputy Speakers, Majority Floor Leaders and Minority Floor Leaders, thereof on or before 01 May 2007; and, finally one (1) each from the Business sector, the labor sector and from the overseas sector, or from such other sector, which both Houses, by a majority vote of the members of its Bicameral Committee shall propose and decide. And, a former President or Vice-President, who shall be the Chairman and Presiding Officer of the Convention, to be voted upon by the majority of all the 34 members earlier mentioned, for a total number of Delegates not exceeding THIRTY FIVE (35) Members, who must still be in good health and able to cope up with the rigors of the grueling task ahead, and most importantly of sound mind and discretion.
However, to effect the foregoing, a specific proviso should be stipulated therein that ALL INCUMBENT AND FORMER ELECTED OFFICIALS OR CANDIDATES FROM THE LAST TWO IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING ELECTIONS FROM PRESIDENT DOWN TO THE MUNICIPAL COUNCILORS OF A SECOND CLASS MUNICIPALITY AND THEIR RELATIVES UP TO THE SIXTH DEGREE OF AFFINITY OR CONSANGUINITY SHALL BE DISQUALIFIED AND INELIGIBLE TO RUN FOR ANY ELECTIVE POSITION UNTIL AFTER THE FIRST REGULAR ELECTION FROM DATE OF APPROVAL OF THE NEW CONSTITUTION, LIKEWISE FOR ALL APPOINTIVE OFFICIALS OF THE SAID ELECTIVE OFFICIALS UP TO THE THIRD IN LINE OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES OR ORGANIZATIONS. EXAMPLE: THOSE APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT WITH CABINET RANK DOWN TO ALL ASSISTANT SECRETARIES. IN THE CASE OF MAYORS, VICE-MAYORS AND COUNCILORS, ALL THEIR INCUMBENT AND FORMER CHIEFS OF STAFF DOWN TO THOSE THIRD IN LINE IN SUCH OFFICE. This means that, say, for example, the approval of the new Constitution took effect in January 2008 and the first election under the new constitution was (to be) held in June 2008 – that election period is considered the first election period where the disqualification clause applies. If the next regular election falls 3 years thereafter, that will be the only time those disqualified would be eligible to run. Note that here the key word is “regular”, which means that in case of a Special election the disqualification proviso still applies. This proviso will at the very least screen or contain any hidden agenda in the process.
To further boost such sincerity, let it further be resolved that the entire pork barrel or countryside development funds of our legislators and the special discretionary fund of the President and all other offices, except those provided for Education, Health, Social Welfare and Defense, shall be suspended of its use beginning January 2007 and such funds moved to be used for the Constitutional Convention instead starting on date of passage of such resolution until the date of approval of the New Constitution. The members of the Con-Con shall be given a period of 30 days to amend or revise the rules used in previous similar conventions, or formulate or adopt a new one, as well as provide for the allocation of their budget based on the funds brought in for their exclusive use and purpose.
As one could readily see it, there will be no additional budget or expense for the exercise as the funds to be used, and for a more worthy cause, are those funds that otherwise are not in reality totally used for the purposes it was made for.
EPHRAIM CUADRA SALCEDO
167 Legaspi cor. De La Rosa, I-Care Bldg., 7th Floor,
(Asia Projects), Legaspi Village 1229, Makati,
Tel. Nos. (02) 812.3850 / 51; Fax No. (02) 818.5897
Cell No. 0922.