Recto: Federalism can do more harm than good

MANILA — Federalism can do more harm than good, Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto said Wednesday noting that he is no longer in favor of amending the 1987 Constitution.

During the resumption of the Senate hearing on the proposals to amend the 1987 Constitutions, Recto said he will withdraw his resolution No. 2 which seeks amendments to certain restrictive economic provisions.

The senator said that he felt that the purpose of Federalism was more political than economic.

“(I was) willing to amend (the Constitution) only for economic changes. But since that is not the plan, I will withdraw,” Recto later told reporters in an interview.

He said that among the downsides of the proposed shift to federalism are more harm to the economy due to “additional bureaucracy, additional taxes and additional red tape” to name a few.

“If we’re growing by 7 to 10 percent today, 7 percent real growth, 10 percent nominally, by doing that, we might destroy the economy,” Recto explained.

“We know that the position of the President’s party (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan or PDP-Laban) is to amend for political purposes, particularly federalism. And I think that will do more harm than good,” he added.

He said that he “totally” opposed federalism and thought that the government could do better by simply amending the Local Government code.

Senate Pre. Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, chair of the Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, meanwhile refused to comment when asked if he shared the same views as Recto on political reasons.

“I would not express an opinion, because I am the chair of the committee that will draft the report,” Drilon said.

He also assured that Recto’s vote will not affect the upcoming hearings and that the Senate panel would know the effect once it is put into a vote.

“Sen. Recto has taken the position that we should not amend the Constitution and therefore, it is a vote against adoption of the resolution calling either for a constitutional convention or constitutional assembly,” Drilon said.

Whether or not that will be a decisive vote, Drilon said he did not know.

“You know by his withdrawal of the resolution, it only means that he is not in favor of amending the Constitution. So any resolution that will propose for the call of a con-con or con-ass, he will cast a negative vote. Whether or not that negative vote will affect the vote is something that is speculative at this point,” he added.