Ex-CJ Puno: Only ignorance fuels people vs. federalism

NEWS BY PNA: Criticisms on the draft federal constitution pushed by the Consultative Committee (ConCom) are borne out of lack of clear understanding, its chairman said.

Former Chief Justice and ConCom Chairman Reynato Puno made this remark in a forum on Wednesday in Quezon City, where he stressed how federalism would benefit the regions the most.

"The last few days have seen an all-out assault on the alleged defects of the draft federal constitution. Let me say that most of these criticisms are borne out of a lack of clear understanding of the spirit of the draft Federal Constitution," Puno said during the Forum on Federalism in Quezon City organized by the Regional Development Council of MIMAROPA.

Puno said others also doubted federalism because they were “driven by fear and displeasure that they will be the losers politically and economically” should there be a shift from unitary to a federal form of government.

He, however, allayed these fears, noting that the proposed Federalism Constitution is designed to have a “strong federal government” to hold together the different regions and make them equally viable and sustainable by spreading the funds and powers to the regional level.

"The antidote to the problem of over-concentration of powers is non-concentration of powers, which is the sense of federalism. Federalism therefore, is for the benefit of regions, for the benefit of local government units," Puno said.

Puno encouraged "those in the regions" to ask the "hard questions" about the unitary government and "dissect" to find out why it has failed in addressing the country’s problems.

SOURCE: Lack of understanding drives criticisms on federalism: Puno; By Azer Parrocha; August 4, 2018, 1:03 pm; www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1043763

WHO IS PUNO? Reynato Puno y Serrano was the 22nd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. Appointed on December 8, 2007 by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, he was the 22nd person to serve as Chief Justice. Puno had initially been appointed to the Supreme Court as an Associate Justice on June 28, 1993. Puno was appointed on January 23, 2018 as the chairperson of the Consultative committee, by virtue of Executive Order No. 10, tasked to review the provisions of the 1987 constitution. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynato_Puno