IF the government wants to honor the late Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., then it should pursue constitutional reforms aimed at addressing the endemic ills of Philippine society.
A close associate of Senator Pimentel, the “chief architect” of the landmark Local Government Code, President Duterte himself favors the opening of the 1987 Constitution for amendments.
Note that Pimentel, a Mindanaoan like Duterte, gave all his life to democracy, people empowerment and meaningful political reforms such as devolution, federalism and local autonomy.
He wanted to give every Filipino equal access to and opportunity to pursue a better life and future, according to Local Government Undersecretary and Spokesman Jonathan Malaya.
Aware of the late senator’s pursuit of reforms, Undersecretary Malaya said the Cabinet-level Task Force CORE (Constitutional Reform) is now finalizing the amendments it would push.
Malaya said the Department of the Interior and Local Government is advocating the institutionalization of a clear provision in the Constitution about the Supreme Court’s “Mandanas Ruling.”
The “Mandanas Ruling” increases the internal revenue allotment for all local government units (LGUs) across the country.
The DILG also supports the transformation of the existing Regional Development Council into a Regional Development Authority to enable it to have full powers to approve development projects.
At present, the council just recommends to the Executive Branch what development projects to implement.
Pimentel Jr.’s belief in democracy and federalism inspired then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte to seek the top political post of the land in the May 2016 presidential elections.
And Duterte has not shown any sign of backing off from his commitment to change the country’s form of government from presidential to federal system as advocated by Pimentel.