How to End RP’s Imperial Manila: Adopt Federalism!
Federalism’s electoral college is the BEST solution to END the coercive, unfair power of the fast-expanding Imperial Manila.
Wikipedia defines Imperial Manila as “a pejorative epithet used by certain sectors of Filipino society such as Visayans [Mindanaoans, Ilocanos, Bicolanos, and so on] to express the idea that all the affairs of the Philippines—whether in politics, business, economy, or culture—are decided by what is happening in the capital region Metro Manila without considering the rest of the country, largely because of its centralized government.”
I say this political farce is not just a political reality in the Philippines; it is the ultimate, logical result of the type of NATIONAL-centered, centralized government and political system that our ancestors had adopted for our failing country. Our form of government is a NATIONAL one.
Our so-called ‘presidential system’ is not even a ‘carbon copy’ of America’s alleged ‘system of government’. Our political framework is purely a ‘national’ one, e.g., it gives so much political power to the national government. The country’s 24 senators who represent the legislative branch’s higher chamber (Senate) were elected via a national election. We are not a Republican-Federalist government. What we have is a MEDIOCRE, badly conceived political framework and system of government.
A major newspaper’s editorial blames the crisis in Mindanao on the well-funded Imperial Manila. “Mindanao has been gripped by a power shortage crisis for more than a year,” the editorial says. “What makes this new blow to Mindanao something to count against uncaring and exploitative “Imperial Manila” is the perception that the shortage of electricity is caused by decisions of the national government’s National Power Corporation and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.”
A lot of Filipino political pundits also blame Imperial Manila for crippling power crisis in Mindanao and other parts of the country.
This Journal opinion writer observes: “The crippling power crisis ravaging Mindanao today is emblematic of the benign neglecy with which imperial Manila treats the second largest island of the archipelago.”
Others say the Aquino government’s proposed Bangsamoro project would trigger proper allocation of resources to neglected far-flung provinces and areas like Mindanao. For instance, Jose Abueva writes: “The proposed “Bangsamoro” is a most welcome model for the fundamental reform of our highly centralized Unitary System under which our various administrative regions of differing ethno-linguistic-cultural communities gravely suffer from the lack of powers, authority, and resources as poor dependents of the National Government in “Imperial Manila.””
If that’s the only possible solution to the Mindanao crisis, why not simply balkanize the entire country?
Cebu Rep. Pablo John Garcia lamented in June that Malacanang’s Imperial Manila makes certain favored and “blessed” politicians “Goliath now”. In short, Imperial Manila breeds ‘padrino system’, ‘kumparihan system’, favoritism, cronyism, and corruption.
What most political pundits don’t know is that Imperial Manila is the logical, ultimate outcome of the country’s NATIONAL government system, meaning a system that concentrates political power in the national government. Despite the fact that the 1987 Constitution guarantees the delegation of powers to the local government units (LGUs), still the national government in Imperial Manila makes the final decisions and crucial economic/political policies. If our politicians are not aware of this- and if they don’t know the proper concept and purpose of federalism- then, we’d still end up adopting a national-federal government system that arrogates coercive political powers to the national government. Under this semi-federalist system, states do not actually enjoy independence and autonomy from the national government. In a proper federalist government, the most important functions of the national government are as follows: 1) maintain the police and military, 2) promulgate treaties and shape foreign policy, and 3) police interstate commerce and international trade.
Here are some of the usual complaints against Imperial Manila:
- Unfair allocation of government funds;
- The country’s political consensus is being decided by Imperial Manila’s powerful few;
- Unfair distribution of government priorities;
- Most government subsidized entities and services are situated in the Imperial Manila. For example, the country’s taxpayers subsidize MRT and LRT commuters in the NCR region;
- Corruption and irregularities;
- Imperial Manila decides the fate of all provinces
The main reasons why the national government and politicians maintain Imperial Manila are as follows:
- People’s votes. The total number of registered voters in the entire NCR region, which has a total population of 11.5 million, is 5,999,706 (as of 2010). This makes the region very, very attractive to national officials (e.g., senators, vice president, president, and wannabe-politician cabinet members).
- NCR provides a good number of protesters to influence policies, or even to topple an incumbent regime. Who extra-constitutionally ousted Erap in the first place? The Imperial Manila’s civil society and Manilenos.
- It is the cultural center of the country. It is where the country’s culture is formed and perpetuated. The institutions that help form a society’s culture are: education, media, church, business circle, government planners.
Are you tired of the burgeoning, fast-expanding power of Imperial Manila?
The solution is not to trim it down through an electoral process. It would only perpetuate our failed, mediocre system. It would merely give us a false hope or assurance that ‘everything is OK’ or ‘can be solved through electoral participation’. The solution is to adopt and implement a better system- a system that provides a necessary, strong check on the powers of the national government– a system that can limit the excessive, coercive powers of the National Government.
The solution is: FEDERALISM with its electoral college mechanism. Federalism without its distinctive electoral college feature is useless. The Electoral College is a political mechanism designed to elect the President and Vice President. Under federalist system, legislative representatives (tongressmen) and senators are elected by state electorates via popular elections.
Unlike our NATIONAL, centralized government system, the federalist system will make senators more committed to their home states (e.g., State of Ilocandia, State of Cebu, State of Davao, State of Mindanao, etc.) The Mindanaoans, Ilocanos, Bicolanos, Cebuanos would then elect their own senators and representatives. Each federal state would have its own local or state government, constitution and judiciary. In other words, the country’s several states would have the power and authority to form their own policies and laws, to impose or remove taxes, to influence the national government, and to SECEDE. This is the only and best solution to the current Mindanao crisis.
Of course, state authorities/policies, as well as judicial decisions promulgated by state courts, should still conform to the Federal Constitution. For example, the State of Maguidanao cannot legalize honor killing or any religious practices that are against public law and moral law.
America’s electoral college was established by Article II, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution. The provision states: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.” To win the presidency, a presidential candidate must obtain a majority of the electoral votes—and today, with a total of 538 electors, that means a presidentiable needs 270 electoral votes.
Some of the advantages of Federalism and Electoral College:
1. Two-Party System. Our multi-party system is a sham! It’s actually the result of the intellectual bankruptcy and IGNORANCE of those who drafted the 1987 Constitution. Perhaps they thought the American Constitution explicitly calls for the maintenance of a two-party system. In America, the two-party is simply the logical outcome of their electoral college system and federalism. Under this electoral college mechanism, it is the States that actually elect the President and Vice President via an indirect election. Under our current system, both national officials are elected via popular elections. Each State will be allocated its own number of ELECTORAL VOTES according to sound, logically established elector’s qualifications and State rules (since states may have their own electoral rules).
The party-list system is also a national idea and against the concept and system of federalism. This party-list system must be abolished for it establishes the dangerous primitive idea of collective/group rights. There is no such thing as ‘group rights’; there is only individual rights’. Federalism is consistent with the concept of individual rights. A law that protects an individual protects everybody or ALL social members. Lawmakers must pass laws to protect the rights of every individual. The party-list system has been balkanizing this nation by turning the Congress into a chaotic party of left-leaning sectoral groups seeking special favors, preferential treatment, government money, protection, etc.
2. Ideology or policy-based political parties. Both Federalism and electoral college system would force parties to form major coalitions, or to form at least two major parties. A political party’s presidential candidate would need to muster the required number of electoral votes to get elected. The presence of a third party would make it hard for a pro-freedom, pro-liberty major party to get the presidency. This is what is happening now in the United States with the presence of Gary Johnson’s Libertarian Party. Political pundits say a vote for Johnson is a vote for reelectionist Obama. A two-party scenario would also force the major parties to establish and maintain their distinctive political policies and identity.
3. Independent States. The States would have the constitutional power to define their policies, to direct their state affairs, to limit taxation, among others.
4. Competition among States. It has been long established that the determinant of states’ economic progress is economic freedom or openness. States may compete with each others for local investment and foreign direct investment (FDI). The Federal Constitution should not provide any provision on protectionism or economic regulations. This authority should be given to the States. Thus, it’s up to, say, the State of Ilocandia whether it wants to limit foreign ownership of lands and businesses within its territorial jurisdiction. States that want to attract technology transfer and FDI to create jobs and opportunities would need to deregulate, to abolish certain taxes, to lower tax rates, and to establish a pro-free market business climate.
5. The system could end political dynasties.
6. The election of President will not be based on popular votes or popularity.
7. State governments may oppose or reject coercive, anti-freedom, anti-rights National Government programs, reforms, measures and policies. For example, under federalism the States of Ilocandia or Cebu may oppose the Reproductive Health bill or the Antitrust Law. State courts may also declare vague, totalitarian measures like the Cybercrime Law unconstitutional.
In the United States, states may nullify coercive, unconstitutional Federal laws like the ObamaCare law. This political mechanism, which is consistent with the idea of State independence or autonomy, is called State Nullification, which is “the rightful remedy”, a description used by Thomas Jefferson, when the Federal government goes beyond its constitutional powers. In other words, this remedy gives the States the right or authority to refuse to enforce unconstitutional federal laws.
Now, we may or may not totally copy America’s Federal and Electoral College Systems. Or: we may adopt an IMPROVED version of the system! The most important thing is: We need to understand the BASIC PRINCIPLES, and they are as follows:
- Republicanism means representative government ruled by law (the Constitution). It means: No one is above the law, and no one has the right to vote against the rights of others. No matter how noble the intentions are, the majority has no power to deprive any individual of his/her rights.
- Federalism is simply a political implementation of the concepts of LIMITED GOVERNMENT and CLASSICAL REPUBLICANISM. Federalism opposes the idea of national government. It simply means that the States CREATED the Federal Government, not the other way around.
- To maintain a REPUBLICAN SYSTEM, FEDERALISM must be adopted, because it provides “independent power” to the States. This independent State power serves as a check on the power of the Federal Government. Federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary NATIONAL power.
Under Republican Federal-Electoral College system, the entire EXECUTIVE OFFICE (President, Vice President, Cabinets and all executive offices and departments) would be compelled to focus only on its official, constitutionally designated functions. The President would be prevented by the system from establishing or maintaining a coercive, arbitrary executive control over the entire LEGISLATIVE BRANCH (senators and representatives) through pork barrel or any form of political largesse, since States are constitutionally independent of the Federal Government.