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De La Salle Philippines is a network of Lasallians in the Sector of the Philippines established to facilitate collaboration in the Lasallian Mission and the promotion of the spirit of faith, zeal for service and communion in mission that together, are at the heart of the journey of our Founder, John Baptist de La Salle.

De La Salle Philippines is committed to building up educational communities that demonstrate commitment to young people, especially those who are poor, by providing them with access to a human and Christian education that enables them to participate in the transformation of society.

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Federalism, the Trojan Horse by Bishop Broderick Pabillo, July 12, 2018

Marc Gepaya

Federalism, the Trojan Horse

The Story of the Trojan Horse is interesting. After years of siege, the Greek could not penetrate the city of Troy , until they came up with an idea of making a big horse as a peace offering. They left it on the shore and sailed away, admitting their defeat. The Trojans were so happy at this turn of events. They brought the big wooden horse inside their city and celebrated whole night. While they were celebrating, soldiers came surreptitiously out of the horse, opened the city gates to let in their hidden comrades who  stealthily  sailed back, and attacked the drunk Trojans. Thus the great and impregnable city of Troy fell to the Greeks.

Duterte is presenting federalism as the magic wand to bring about prosperity to the whole country. This claim is at best dubious. But the way to bring about federalism is the change of the present constitution, cha cha, in short. I see that federalism is the Trojan horse, the smokescreen in order to bring about cha cha, which is the formula for total control of the country. It is a control that is backed up by the new constitution they are proposing! We do not yet know this new constitution but knowing the people who are behind this – Duterte and his minions – and knowing who will craft this – the present congress convened as constitutional assembly – we can already guess where this is heading. It will spell disaster to the Filipinos.

We say no to cha cha at this juncture of our history! Although our 1987 Constitution is already hailed as a very progressive constitution together with that of South Africa, it is not perfect. It can still be improved, but not at this time and not with this present congress and president.

Not at this time:

1. The atmosphere in the country is not conducive to critical participation. There is a culture of fear and bullying promoted by Duterte.

2. There is the haste to make the cha cha. They want the plebiscite to be done this year.  So there is no time for transparency, proper consultation and discussion. But why the haste? There is a strong suspicion that the haste is to avoid the election of 2O19 so that those in the office can remain.

Not with this present administration.

1. Duterte is out for power. We do not believe his “promise” to resign if the cha cha for federalism is already passed. He already had so many “promises” to resign – if traffic in Manila is not solved in 3 months, if ENDO is not taken away in 6 months, if the problem of illegal drugs is not solved in 6 months, etc., etc. If he is true to his word, he should have resigned long ago! But he is one who is “strong” – and flimsy - in words but very weak in deeds. Who can believe him?

2. The Lower House is no longer independent. It is just a rubber stamp of the palace. The congressmen and women there no longer represent the people but their own families and political interests. They do not have the good of the people at heart. They cannot be trusted. Nor are they qualified too for changing the charter!

3. The present government is no longer seen as independent from foreign influence. China is seen as a real threat, and with the connivance of no less than Duterte himself.

The country is faced with real problems, like the runaway inflation, the rise in prices of the basic goods, the atmosphere of lawlessness with the continued killings of the poor, of church people and of politicians, the loss of our territorial sovereignty, the weakening of our democratic institutions, the anger at the controlled and uncalled for ranting of Duterte, etc. These should be addressed by people in government now, not cha cha nor federalism!

Bishop Broderick Pabillo
July 12, 2018