Federal system of gov’t can solve graft, corruption: Puno

MANILA The head of the Consultative Committee to review the 1987 Constitution said the special features of the draft federal constitution can put an end to graft and corruption in the country.

During a public forum on federalism in Quezon City on Monday, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno explained that graft and corruption is a systemic problem that can't be solved by the current Charter.

"Isang araw. sinabi ng Presidente gusto ko na mag-resign kasi hindi ma-zero ang problema ng (One day, the president said I want to resign because I'm unable to eradicate the problem of) graft and corruption. Why, because it's systemic. Bago matapos ang graft case, it takes years because of the police, the judicial system, the case will end but acquitted," he said.

Puno said the same is true for crime problems nationwide.

The government agencies, Customs, why can't we kick out those involved in drugs? Meron daw silang security of tenure, ang (They said they have security of tenure, the) 1987 Constitution, if you remove them, we could start with ground zero, with a new Constitution everybody will be out, the meritorious ones will be left, he added.

Stressing the fact that wealth and power are enjoyed only by few prominent families, Puno said the 1987 Constitution is unable to address worsening economic and political inequalities.

"Pinapamana na lang ang posisyon sa gobyerno (Government position is being inherited, it is part of the state planning already. The 1987 Constitution seemingly prohibits political dynasties as may be provided by law but no law prohibiting political dynasties, monopolies, cartels and oligopolies were created since 1987, he said.

Puno remarked that three-fourths of the total number of congressmen and congresswomen might lose their position if the federal government draft will be passed.

"Itong draft namin strongly prohibits political dynasties kaya ayaw ng mga nakaupo sa Kongreso (Our draft strongly prohibits political dynasties that's why those in the Congress dislike it)," he said.

He also told the public that the 1987 Constitution is not entirely bad, but it has limited vision of the changes which happened since it was created up to present time.

The 1987 Constitution is better than the Constitution during Marcos's regime and the 1935 Constitution, but it's limited. There's no constitution that is immune to change, there's no perfect constitution, all constitutions have provisions for amendments, revisions to cater to the needs of a specific country, we need to adjust, change the constitution or else we will be the dinosaur of this century, he said.

In connection to this, Puno clarified that the consultative committee he heads is a "non-partisan commission which is not dictated by any politician including the president". They have submitted the draft in July to the Congress for consideration, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency