Press Release
August 16, 2008


AMLAN, NEGROS ORIENTAL -- Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today allayed the fears of fellow senators, particularly those eyeing the presidency or vice presidency, that the adoption of the federal system may cause the scrapping of the 2010 presidential election.

Pimentel said the 2010 presidential election will be held as scheduled because the federalism proposal, embodied under Joint Resolution 10, does not contemplate of the abolition of the presidential form of government.

The senator from Mindanao said the scheduled elections in that year could possibly be done away with only if there is a shift to a parliamentary system which is not the agenda of Resolution 10. In a parliamentary system, the head of government will be the prime minister and members of Parliament will replace the senators and congressmen.

"Even if the federalism proposal is adopted today, we cannot say it will take effect immediately. It will take time to restructure the government and put in place the federal system. It cannot be done under the present term of the President," Pimentel said.

Aside from this, he said the adoption of the federal system and other amendments to the Constitution will have to be approved by the people in a national plebiscite which will also entail a lot of time.

Pimentel resource speaker on Federalism at Negros Oriental League of Municipalities, consultative meeting in Barangay Tandayag, Amlan, Negros Oriental, said "If I will have the way, we should now debate and decide on Resolution 10 because I'm still here. And as long as I am here, I will not allow any attempt to use the federalism proposal to push for a hidden political agenda of any one."

The minority leader said he will insist that safeguards are built into the federalism resolution against any proposal to lift the term limit on the incumbent president and other national government officials.

Pimentel said that once Resolution No. 10 is approved with its fixed agenda to adopt a federal presidential system of government, the debates can begin immediately with each house voting separately.

"With a fixed agenda in the resolution, the people would have no reason to suspect that we, the members of Congress, have a hidden agenda. By putting on record what we want in the Constitution changed with specificity, we will to rest that popular suspicion," he said.

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