Why A Parliamentary Shift Advocacy Has ‘Lost It’

culture changeIt’s not so much the concept of a parliamentary form of government, but the manner in which one group chooses to push for it that has gotten the larger online Filipino community linking arms against it.

Tsk tsk. Weak arguments, kilometric tirades, and focus on personal attacks are signs of a creeping desperation in this “movement” to sell “Constitutional Reform” on the basis of a quaint acronym and a strong predisposition to badger those who only seek to challenge its basic principles.” — Benign0

I am not against the idea of a Philippine parliamentary form of government because I can see where it could actually make things easier — having worked with more than half a dozen elected politicians over the past decade and a half.

However, what IS at issue is the misguided and abrasive militancy with which it is being pushed by a certain group.  If at all the group sincerely believes in the merits of a parliamentary form of government, it should heed this nut of wisdom when it comes to gaining supporters: “It’s not who you are or what you say, it’s how you make people feel.”

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How can people support the cause of a group that openly resorts to defaming people’s character in public space for merely asking questions about the theoretical assumptions that underlie the group’s cause?

Compounding the group leader’s utter lack of understanding, wisdom, and knowledge of Philippine politics on the ground is a dangerous mix of intellectual dilettantism and persistent political naivete covered up deftly by an ability to recall trivia and mimic accents.

The leader of the group brags of being politically connected to the powers that be and claims to be pushing for political change but hasn’t managed to get enough “balls” together to make a REAL push as a registered political organization — at least in this year’s election.

How can you take such a movement seriously when it hasn’t put anything at stake?

79 Replies to “Why A Parliamentary Shift Advocacy Has ‘Lost It’”

  1. From Teddy Benigno:

    The parliamentary system is not a solution at all. It is a grab for power under the guise of change. More than 50 percent of our people live below the poverty line, and they ache terribly for reforms, for a new group of visionary leaders, for that shaft of political lightning that leads to Damascus. They would perhaps appreciate and agree if the members of Congress who would constitute a Constituent Assembly vote themselves out of the unicameral assembly proposed to be elected in 2004. Yes. Forswear membership. That would convince the citizenry they are noble, serious and sincere. But as things stand, they would be the first to barge into a parliamentary government. And profit handsomely.

    If they fail, and I am almost sure they will fail, they would have poured the additional fuel social unrest needs to explode. In such a situation, they agitate a power-hungry military, already ascendant as the sole political power in violence-prone Mindanao. Tinkering with the constitution when the country is at the crossroads is like playing with a ticking bomb in the schoolyard when the children are at play. That is ghoulish.

    I have said my piece. I say again what we need is not regime change, or change to parliamentary, but a change in our culture, a change in our hearts and minds, in our nature, in our character. The nation heals best when it heals it�s poor and downtrodden. We need a pealing of bells in the night that we might all wake up. If we don�t, what difference is there � really? Between those who colonized and conquered us, and robbed us of our pride and dignity, and our present masters, the Filipino rich and powerful? They too would tighten our chains and laugh uproariously and scornfully when the rest of the nation prays.

    1. I would differ with Benigno on parliamentary being a “power grab.” But he’s right in a change in our hearts and minds. We need that indeed.

  2. Paul,
    With regards to leadership, the gurus espouse another piece of advice:

    “People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.”

  3. It’s ironic how Mr. Dumdum tries to present himself as being an intellectual when in reality all he does is spout ad hominems and false accusations against Mr. Farol.
    Like I said before, that kind of behavior is not different from the desperate malacanang trolls that attack this site fruitlessly.

      1. Paul,

        Anyone with common sense and a brain would never support someone like Mr. Dumdum if he is acting like a douchebag.

    1. Without leadership the ‘movement’ will be flushed down the toilet.
      It has no traction, no respect and clearly no skills in marketing or diplomacy.
      When a message gets lost in banality and irrelevances, and when there is not the intellectual rigour or logical argument it simply becomes an irrelevance.
      Serious debate needs serious people, not self-delusional clowns or comedians who make themselves look foolish – enough of those already in politics.

  4. We take exception to the manner in which CoRRECT has undertaken the shift to a parliamentary form of government.

  5. the sad thing is that dumdum appears to be attracting quite a number of idealistic kids who think the manner by which he promotes his ideas (some of which i agree with) is the correct way.

    as an advocacy group, there is nothing correct about how they’re going about it.

    i just hope none of his misguided supporters end up doing things of a criminal nature. i strongly hope no one follows in dumdum’s footsteps. otherwise, this country would be screwed.

  6. The behaviour of the members of this “movement” exhibit a lot of parallels with the Hitler Youth back in the bad old days. Young, impressionable, idealistic — even intelligent — but unfortunately lacking enough depth of experience to apply advanced cognitive skills that allow one to step back from their own comfort zone and regard with an open mind whether one’s own thinking is in bad need of a reality check.

    Notice that a lot of the online forums associated with this movement are CLOSED groups. This indicates a lack of any inclination to be transparent in the internal discussions. Any group of course would have a core inner circle group where critical and privileged information is exchanged. But the broader community is one where openness and transparency should be encouraged. We see none of that dynamic in this “movement” Paul refers to.

    The ominous thing to note here is that if this “movement” cannot practice transparency even as an “advocacy”, what more when they’ve acquired REAL power. That’s something to consider when one finds one’s self deeply invested in what has become an INSULAR community.

    Cult-like is the encapsulating word here.

    Beware of groups that have become cult-like.

  7. Reading dumdum’s rants and chaotic thinking it seems he needs to grow up.
    Certainly no intellectual, just an obsessive and an obnoxious one at that.

    “It is impossible to practice parliamentary politics without having patience, decency, politeness and courtesy”
    Khaleda Zia

    1. Good that you mentioned that and it seems at least Dumdum, their leader, can’t practice what they’re preaching.

      Who’d trust them? Not me.

  8. “I have said my piece. I say again what we need is not regime change, or change to parliamentary, but a change in our culture, a change in our hearts and minds, in our nature, in our character. The nation heals best when it heals it�s poor and downtrodden. We need a pealing of bells in the night that we might all wake up. If we don�t, what difference is there � really? Between those who colonized and conquered us, and robbed us of our pride and dignity, and our present masters, the Filipino rich and powerful? They too would tighten our chains and laugh uproariously and scornfully when the rest of the nation prays.”

    Certainly, you need to read more. Yan nanaman kayo sa “culture” hypothesis niyo.

    1. Certainly, it’s not the only hypothesis and we don’t ram it down people’s throats.

    2. Louis,

      I think you misinterpret the message. READ Teddy Benigno’s whole essay in the Philippine Star.


      The argument is NOT that we shouldn’t amend the constitution in favor of some purely theoretical or academic approach to effecting change. His position is that without making the corresponding changes in Filipino culture, the shift to a parliamentary system of government is a pointless exercise. Benigno goes further, citing evidence that cultural factors had more to do in transforming our neighbors’ societies than the strict adherence to a parliamentary democracy.

      If we were to make the shift today to a parliamentary system, just imagine which political personalities will be elected as members of parliament. More than likely we’d still be have the Angaras representing Aurora, the Singsons in Ilocos, the Ortegas in La Union, the Aquinos in Tarlac, etc. All of whom would still maintain their current hold on power, as well as their existing business and political interests. The electorate would still vote in personalities instead of making decisions based on the issues. In fact, the parliamentary system implemented at this point in time will only serve to reinforce the entrenched oligarchy and the power of regional warlords. The exact opposite of parliamentary system advocates’ intended outcome.

      That is why we stress EDUCATION and a fundamental cultural transformation as a means of ensuring that all Filipinos experience the so-called “inclusive growth.” That our neighbors’ successes were realized amid a parliamentary system of government is at best incidental.

      1. A good analogy is an article I wrote about the implementation of the use of roundabouts (rotondas) in the Philippines. Its proponents insisted that this new system promised to improve traffic flow in Manila’s streets.

        Unfortunately, they failed to appreciate that the roundabout system hinges on motorists’ abilities to follow simple rules — something Pinoys are renowned for sucking at. Without this key ingredient, implementing roundabouts on Manila’s streets would’ve caused more chaos.

        In short, New System plus Old Bulok Culture equals Certain Disaster as the late Teddy Benigno himself pointed out.

        1. You’ll probably have a better chance at teaching a pigeon to pilot a guided missile than to have Filipinos suddenly change if, tomorrow morning, the country wakes up to a Prime Minister instead of a President.

      2. And if anybody still has doubts about Filipino driving, all you have to do is sit yourself down at the corner of Quezon Avenue that flows into the Quezon City Circle. You won’t have to wait five minutes before you notice a vehicle — probably a jeepney — suddenly cut across lanes without bothering to signal. Much to the chagrin, screams and honking of other motorists.

        Also — just observe vehicles that try to switch lanes at any one of the MMDA’s U-turn boondoggles. Chances are you’ll find cars occupying two lanes lining up to make a U-turn. With public jeepneys occupying the remaining road space waiting to take on passengers or lined up across lanes, attempting to make the same U-turn ahead of all the other vehicles.

        You shouldn’t expect those drivers will be any more circumspect in their decision making under a parliament than under a presidential system.

      3. Roxas had a good analogy for the Presidential and Parliamentary form of governments.

        The Presidential Form of government we have right now, he said, is like a jeep. It’s slow and it has poor handling (ability to maneuver quickly).

        The Parliamentary Form of government is like a Ferrari, Roxas said. It is fast and can make turns quickly.

        Now, here’s the thing. Think of the common Pinoy jeepney driver and then consider putting him in a Ferrari.

        For all it’s flaws, the Presidential form of government as we have it right now, I think, is good enough for this infantile democracy.

        Because it is slow, there is a lot of time for mistakes to be cured.

        Because it is difficult to change direction, there is ample time to re-check the course several times over before it misses the destination completely.

        The framers of the Constitution, perhaps, assumed that the greater number of citizens needed a democratic form of government with training wheels.

        1. I don’t think it was about “training wheels.” When America’s founding fathers decided to form a republic they certainly had the opportunity to form a parliamentary system based on English law. But they opted for a bicameral system that was inefficient by design. This was intentional for the very reasons that they revolted against the English King. They wanted to remove the possibility of a TYRANNY. American colonists first asked for greater representation in Parliament; “No taxation without representation” became their mantra. When it became clear that this was never going to be the case, the 13 colonies seceded from England. And to avoid the chance of the new union’s president consolidating powers to enable him to become dictator, authority was split among the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary in the belief that each would check and balance the other two.

          The Philippines on the other hand, much like today’s American politics, is stuck in gridlock. Not because the system is necessarily flawed but because today’s politicians are small minded and self-centered, thinking only of personal gain, not the nation’s interest. We are slow and make mistakes not because the system forces us to move at a snail’s pace but because we cannot compromise, we haven’t been able to think beyond our insular ideas and prejudices.

        2. What you didn’t realize is that when the United States of America came up with their Presidential System, the founding fathers recognized the fact that the masses were likely to be petty and personality-oriented rather than issues-oriented.

          That’s why they came up with the ELECTORAL COLLEGE which, if you think carefully, acts like a Parliamentary System in the sense that the Electoral College is like a parallel “Congress” whose representatives are tasked purely to choose the President and Vice President.

          The Founding Fathers created that system precisely because they were afraid of chaos and mob-rule which is what characterizes the Philippine Presidential System today where you have actors and people with name-recall winning elections.

          The USA’s system is BETTER than the Philippine System precisely because, according to the late Dr. Fred Riggs, certain features that were deemed “not-so-democratic” (such as the ELECTORAL COLLEGE) helped to stabilize it, whereas newer democracies in Latin America and Asia (like the Philippines) sought to be “more democratic” by using direct elections for President.

          As it turns out, the research of Dr. Riggs ties in with the research of Dr. Linz where both PolSci PhD’s contend that the Presidential System is problematic because of many of its systemic features, and parliamentary systems do not have these same issues.

          Dr. Fred Riggs goes further in his research to state that the USA’s system’s “parliamentary-like” features (the Electoral College) have made it less prone to the “tyranny of popularity” among the masses, and this research proves the thesis that “the more parliamentary-like the system is, the better/more stable it is.”

          This is what happened to the US system. It is “Presidential”, yes. But its Electoral System is quasi-Parliamentary. It is this quasi-parliamentary set of features (the Electoral College) which has made the USA the only exception among ALL of the world’s Presidential Democracies to have never been broken by a coup d’etat or other major disruption.

          Everywhere else in the world, such as Latin America, the Philippines, and Africa, all countries who used Presidential Systems have all experienced disruptions and/or coups that overthrew a regime.

          Parliamentary Systems, on the other hand, feature an official route to change the leadership without resorting to bloodshed.

          Honestly, the proof that the Parliamentary System is superior to the Presidential System and proof that merely SHIFTING OVER from the Presidential System to the Parliamentary System will indeed fix things has already been proven long ago. You guys just haven’t been interested to read the PhD research that underpins what the CoRRECT Movement is pushing for.

          We did our homework. You haven’t done any research at all. Everything you have is just guesswork and haka-haka and hula-hula.

          [Content in violation of TOS removed.]

        3. Honestly, the proof that the Parliamentary System is superior to the Presidential System and proof that merely SHIFTING OVER from the Presidential System
          to the Parliamentary System will indeed fix things has already been proven long ago.

          Mister Dumdum, what you clearly do not understand because your knowledge of politics is confined to books and not real life experience, is that the successes of the countries you cited cannot be replicated merely by adopting their system of government.

          To put it simply, each country develops its own specific system of governance based on its experience, its culture, economy, and other circumstances. Systems of governance are TAILOR-MADE or a bespoke design. So it’s rather SIMPLE MINDED to say that MERELY SHIFTING TO A PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM will ‘fix’ things.

          Moreover, don’t mix up the words ‘same’ and ‘similar’ in trying to “prove” that Malaysia and Malaysians are similar to the Philippines as a way of supporting the rather tedious argument that the Philippine should also go for a parliamentary form of government. Malaysia is a different country with different circumstances, isn’t that obvious to you?

        4. Clarification of the US Electoral College system:

          The Electoral College was created as a compromise for the presidential election process.

          How did this come about?

          In 1787, the US Founding Fathers, based on their direct knowledge of history showing that unlimited power tends to become tyrannical power, created the United States as a republic — not a pure democracy. However, the Framers of the Constitution wanted to make sure the people were given direct input in choosing their leaders and saw two ways to accomplish this:

          1. The people of the entire nation would vote for and elect the president and vice president based on popular votes alone. A direct popular election.

          2. The people of each state would elect their members of the US Congress by direct popular election. The members of Congress would then express the wishes of the people by electing the president and vice president themselves. An election by Congress.

          The Founding Fathers feared the direct popular election option. Frankly, they gave little credit to the American public for political awareness when it came to selecting the president. There were no organized national political parties yet, no structure by which to choose and limit the number of candidates. In addition, travel and communication was slow and difficult at that time. A very good candidate could be popular regionally, but remain unknown to the rest of the country. A large number of regionally popular candidates would thus divide the vote and not indicate the wishes of the nation as a whole.

          On the other hand, election by Congress would require the members to both accurately assess the desires of the people of their states and to actually vote accordingly. This could have led to elections that better reflected the opinions and political agendas of the members of Congress than the actual will of the people.

          The Founders were unanimous in their desire that no single entity be given unlimited power. They were well aware of the dangers of placing ultimate power into a single set of human hands. Accordingly, they feared that placing unlimited power to elect the president into the politically naive hands of the people could lead to a “tyranny of the majority.” Achieving a “separation of powers” ultimately became their highest priority.

          As a compromise, the US created the Electoral College system.

          In summary the Electoral College works like this:

          1. Votes cast by the people of the United States — known as the “popular vote” — are used to choose the president and vice president “indirectly” through the Electoral College.

          2. Popular votes cast in the presidential election are actually being cast for a number of electors. Each state gets a number of electors equal to the state’s number of representatives in the House and Senate.

          3. There are a total of 538 electors.

          4. The candidate winning the most popular votes in a state gets all of that states electoral votes.

          5. The first candidate to win 270 or more electoral votes is elected.

          Today, criticism of the Electoral College system centers around the argument that the Electoral College is inherently undemocratic and gives certain “swing states” disproportionate influence in electing the President and Vice President. The Founding Fathers’ concerns with direct popular elections have mostly vanished. The national political parties have been around for years. Travel and communications are no longer problems. We all have access to every word spoken by every candidate every day. In fact, a number of constitutional amendments have been proposed seeking to alter the Electoral College or replace it with a direct popular vote.

          While it may share some similarities with a parliamentary system, the Electoral College is “tasked purely to choose the President and Vice President.” It DOES NOT HAVE ANY LEGISLATIVE FUNCTION, which is one of the primary functions of parliament. In this sense, it does not bolster any argument for parliamentary democracy. In fact, going back to the reasons for its creation, the Electoral College system is an anachronism that needs to be restructured if it is to remain relevant to the existing political environment.

    1. Oh, nag-respond ka pala Mr. Dumdum and it’s more trash talking against me.

      I already warned you and since you’re determined to keep defaming me, I have no other recourse but to shut you down in real life.

  9. I agree with CoRRECT’s first two points, get more investors and allow each region to make themselves grow.

    As for the last one, I really don’t care because there will be no change if the people keep voting the same crooks or idiots as their representatives.

    Sure, a parliamentary system has advantages over a presidential system, but changing the game will not affect the behaviors of the players and spectators. Possibly, this may incite problems as Filipinos seem to have an aversion to change.

  10. Horses for courses

    Aside from an academic debate a parliamentary system is not a solution to the current political malaise, economic inequalities and social stratification which is firmly rooted in a culture reinforced over generations.

    Putting the cart before the horse only creates more problems and does not address the root causes in a structured or pragmatic manner.

    Addressing the economic provisions within the constitution is a more pragmatic, achievable and beneficial goal, but itself is only one aspect of much needed change

    Transformational management provides insights which can equally apply to political change.
    -Strategy precedes structure
    -Culture determines success

    And a simple starting point is to use P.E.S.T analysis (political, economic, social and technological drivers, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to identify the priorities and interdependencies.

    1. I still think that the constitutional reform route towards prosperity is the long route, but I am not opposed to it.

      Prosperity is really the individual’s look out and not society’s. It is a personal mission more than an entitlement arising from some mandate.

      1. It becomes a “long route” if people like you keep opposing it without even understanding it.

        Right now, you have realized that Constitutional Reform is necessary since I am noticing that you now realize that you cannot issue any rebuttals against it. However, your problem is a problem of ego.

        You don’t like the fact that I have defeated you in every single debate we’ve had in the past, and you don’t like the fact that whenever you insulted me, I returned the favour with you losing because my retaliatory attacks proved extremely hurtful to you which means I won. See? You attacked me, but when I attack you in return, you cry like a baby.

        That’s what’s so wrong about you, Farol. And now you initiate stupid articles like this one in order to defame me. And then when I launch a counter-attack again, you always get “pikon” and start issuing threats. What a loser. You started it, you idiot.

        Now, since you can’t go against Constitutional Reform because you have absolutely no valid arguments against it, you now try to attack me and say that it’s how I deliver my message that you disagree with.

        Hoy, Farol. If you hadn’t been such a stupid asshole and kept ATTACKING ME in the first place, then I wouldn’t attack you in return.

        Simple as that. Why do you complain about how I treat you when I am only returning the favour?

        If you didn’t want me to hurt you, then don’t attack me.

        You will always lose. And no, I OWN YOU, Farol. I will shut you down.

        1. In so many words Mr. Dumdum, your pitifully inadequate, naive and misguided attempt to prop yourself up as some expert in the matter of constitutional change, parliamentary shift and federalism has cost your group to fail to achieve its mission. If at all your group really believed in the parliamentary ethic and rules, you should have been thrown out by your group by now.

          You have never defeated me in any debate, because what you call a debate is almost always just a round of bad mouthing, insults and defamation. I have never attacked you nor subjected you to the abuse that you have subjected me, my wife and my child to.

          It is really your own fault that your writings on the matter have been laughed at, scoffed at and dismissed in its entirety as a sloppy mash-up of half thought out and misunderstood concepts. It is your fault that it has been described as “The sorry musings of a political dilettante bereft of any actual insight due to a lack of real political experience.”

          Why? It is your fault because you are a mere pretender and your lack of real political expertise is so obvious. As I’ve said, all that you know about a parliamentary government is based on books and here you are claiming that you can change the whole political system.

          That’s a lot of hot air!

          How can YOU, Mr. Dumdum, change even a single letter of the Philippine Constitution when you don’t even know the first step when it comes to lobbying for reform? What is the first step, Mr. Dumdum?

          Write a blog and pester people on Facebook? That’s a laugh and it shows how little you know. Hanggang panggagaya ka lang ng accent and as far as stand up comedy is concerned, it loses its novelty rather quickly.

          The funniest thing so far that has come out of your skull, Mr. Dumdum, are your political musings. Just consider what you wrote as a status update:

          “essentially, what will happen in a parliamentary system is that the elitist oligarchs/their henchmen will have to face-off against people who are more intelligent and more hard-working than they are, so when it comes to parliamentary debates, the elitist oligarchs/their henchmen will get eaten ALIVE when they try to face-off in those debates with people having superior knowledge than they do.”

          Really?!! The whole statement is nothing but speculation. How sure are you that there will be "more intelligent and more hard-working" people who will face off against "elitist oligarchs"?

          You are clearly assuming that (1) the oligarchs won't find a way to game the new system and set it up to their advantage; and (2) that "more capable people" will emerge to oppose them. Both assumptions ARE LAUGHABLY without basis.

          And don't even bother to cut and paste your canned response that this has happened in "the countries which have a parliamentary form of government". It's so easy to rebut in its entirety because "correlation does not prove causation" — it is a fallacious argument.

          From the start, Mr. Dumdum, I have never been against Constitutional Reform. So there has never been any debate or argument on the matter, and you have no basis for claiming to have won.

          My position has always been that if such a proposal reached the right forum (legislature) that would be the time that I would engage in the discussion, not before. Any discussion OUTSIDE of legislature about political reform is just talk, until it is formally submitted and taken up as a discussion under the proper committee.

          But such is your ignorance and lack of understanding that you can't understand the implications of the position I have taken. What it simply means is that I do not engage in prepubescent and nearly infantile bluffery which you are passing off as an advocacy.

          My challenge to YOU back then was to take the matter to Congress. It has been about three years since I issued that challenge, and what have you achieved? Nothing.

          Lastly, Mr. Dumdum, unlike you, I never ever bluff. Enjoy everything while you can still enjoy it.

        2. Check this out..

          That’s what’s so wrong about you, Farol. And now you initiate stupid articles like this one in order to defame me. And then when I launch a counter-attack again, you always get “pikon” and start issuing threats. What a loser. You started it, you idiot.

          The guy does not even know what he’s talking about.

          Where specifically in this article has any defamatory statement been made about you, Mr DumDum? The only defamatory words I see is in your above comment where you call Paul an “idiot”.

        3. Let’s define idiot:

          An idiot, dolt, or dullard is a mentally deficient person, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiot)

          Let’s examine Orion’s behavior:

          – Claims to be an advocate of the parliamentary system of government but resorts to unparliamentary language and behavior. COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.
          – Aims to convince EVERY SINGLE FILIPINO of the necessity of Constitutional Reform but has alienated several politicians, several columnists, countless people on social media, and so far has only mustered a dozen or so supporters. COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.
          – Writes unreadable and boring treatises on the parliamentary system. COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.
          – Insults the webmaster of GR Post. COUNTERPRODUCTIVE.

          Did I miss anything?

  11. With jinkee pacquaio as vice-governor, and in another province, the 24 year old wakeboarder son of the local dynasty elected as governor maybe this layer of bureaucracy/expense/corruption could be dispensed with completely.

    1. I suppose the most basic step would be self-discipline. It would be hard to actually fix anything if one would not have a sense of focus.

      1. How will the common masa acquire self-discipline? It’s hard to acquire that without a reward/punishment system.

        1. LIFE will be the ultimate reward and/or punishment. You learn soon enough that if you don’t acquire the necessary skills, the world has a very harsh way of reminding you that your survival is at stake.

    2. The answer is simple. It’s so old, it’s a cliché. We hear the word EDUCATION bandied about, it’s almost lost meaning but this is the real answer at the grassroots level. Making the general public aware of all sides of an issue. Not just the points of view that Malacañang or its propagandist media want you to ingest. Disseminating information and the tools to dissect that knowledge to enable readers to decide for themselves. Through outlets like GRP. I heard about a study from Georgetown University that concluded that instead of voting, you could post a status update on Facebook about an issue dear to your heart. Convincing one of your few hundred friends to take the issue seriously might have a far greater possibility of initiating change that matters than casting a vote.

      Question EVERYTHING. Don’t take anything I’ve posted here at face value. Get as much information on the issue as you can and verify or disprove what I’ve written. Come back and challenge any of the assertions I or any of the other commentators make on this blog. Engage and discuss. Above all else — DECIDE FOR YOURSELF. That’s the way we change the world. That’s the way we get things started.

  12. Changing from Presidential to Parliamentary is quite like changing the course of the ants path. Change their course and all ants go in chaos.

    For example, a rock is blocking their path to the food, so they climb it, your intention is to make them gather food faster with less effort, so you remove the rock they are climbing. Now all ants are in chaos, going in all directions, instead of a single line.

  13. i’d like to ask mr dumdum some questions as part of my own research but i am hesitant. i noticed he doesn’t take kindly to questions as he views them as opposition. i might not be able to control myself if he called me names or insulted me in some other manner.

  14. Orion Dumdum is such a turn-off. It’s a real mystery why the people around him do not have the balls to correct his behaviour.

    If they can’t even remove Orion and put someone new to be the face of their group, then they can’t prove that it’s easy to change a Prime Minister in a parliamentary system in the Philippines.

  15. one question that’s been nagging me for some time now is: can a parliamentary system really change our politicians, for the better?

    1. There are no assurances in a democracy, Balak.

      The government that we get is the government that we make.

      That’s the whole thing about “self government” or democracy.

      As it is, people vote and then forget the next crucial step, which is to make sure to hold the politician accountable. Having a direct vote should, conceivably, translate to being directly accountable to voters. But voters hardly ever assert that.

      What more if we go for a parliamentary system where votes are INDIRECT.

      You vote for a party and the winning party votes for the prime minister.

      Determining accountability is diffused.

  16. i wouldn’t mind seeing a shift to parliamentary system, if only to try out something new. i’m just not convinced yet that it is superior as mr dumdum claims. maybe he can come up with a new argument in favor of parliamentary because so far, aside from the textbook descriptions of the system, all i’m hearing from him and his followers are speculative claims.

    regardless of that, i’d give parliamentary a chance.

    let’s see if mr dumdum can hold his temper and address my concerns like a true gentleman.

    1. balak ubak,

      “(C)an a parliamentary system really change our politicians, for the better?”

      The evidence for this has been presented in previous posts related to this ongoing debate. I’ll state it here too. Look to the historical record.

      Mr Dumdum’s claim is that “merely SHIFTING OVER from the Presidential System to the Parliamentary System will indeed fix things.” The experiences of Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia (which Mr Dumdum often cites), and Taiwan seem to suggest a correlation between economic progress and parliamentary democracy (according to the European model). However, if you were to delve into the political, economic and social conditions of those countries, the picture is very different. It isn’t the rosy picture of a fully functioning representative democracy. Rather, the Asian “economic miracle,” which Mr Dumdum and his fellow advocates claim was nurtured by the adoption of a parliamentary system, is actually the result ONE man/party, a SINGLE charismatic entity that dictated policy and program of government from the top. Teddy Benigno: “Parliaments and congresses existed in some countries, but they were largely DOCILE, TOOTHLESS RUBBER STAMPS whose membership was decided by the government. In all instances, they were one-party organizations. This did away with unnecessary, time-consuming debates and florid discussions. The road ahead was cleared by skilled bureaucrats.” It wasn’t because of MPs coming to a consensus; any success that these “Asian Tigers” achieved was due to the personality, drive and disciplined work ethic of their leaders who ran their respective countries more like conglomerates than political entities.

      It wasn’t until AFTER they’d achieved prosperity that they began to shift their perspective to implementing actual democratic reforms in their systems of government. In Singapore, Lee Kwan Yew retired after ensuring the country was set along the path he established. In South Korea, they prosecuted and convicted TWO former presidents for corruption.

      In the Philippines, you never hear Mr Dumdum and his cohorts mention the fact that we were a PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY from 1973 to 1986. Again — another inutile, rubber stamp body that only existed to ensure Ferdinand Marcos would remain in power indefinitely. THIS IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF THE CLAIM THAT THE MERE SHIFT TO A PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM WILL “INDEED FIX THINGS.” MPs DID NOT become honest, they DID NOT exhibit greater competence, NOR did it improve the lives of Filipinos. In fact, it was the continuing economic downturn that served as one of the key factors in ousting the dictator.

      Given the fact that quite a number of politicians and their families from the Marcos era STILL hold sway in Congress and other aspects of Philippine politics, do you think that shifting to a Parliamentary system NOW will be the appropriate move?

      1. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”
        Dum dum has read “a thousand pages” ! – that represent a couple of books -, and has no direct experience!

        He is entitled to his opinion, and to be wrong.

        Maybe he needs to listen and learn more rather than displaying the failings of a zealot, and a zealot who will fail.

        1. Mr Dumdum is indeed entitled to his opinion. He isn’t entitled to tell everyone else what their opinion should be.

        2. He has read a thousand pages of scholarly work on parliamentary politics, now, come on, that is not little knowledge, mind you!

        3. That makes him a well-read person, but not an expert or authority on the matter.

          If all his understanding of the Parliamentary form of government is based on what he has read, then his understanding is still incomplete.

        4. ‘a thousand pages’ – a days work for a lawyer or oxford undergrad or management consultant.
          speed reading an essential tool

      2. Always appreciate your comments.
        You write well and display logical/balanced thought and a broad knowledge/insights

  17. All these doubts about whether a shift in parliamentary system will eventually bring genuine change in our politics can only be proven if we manage to in fact change and then see the results. The presidential/popularity-based politics in the country has failed us big time and that is the reason of our dysfunction. It comes with pork barrel too, a parliamentary system of government will have a prominent bureaucracy as the source of most bills in the legislative, which are informed by extensive research and stock of knowledge in a particular area of policy. A bureaucrat-sponsored policy then is vetted by politicians who are elected to make laws that are good for the greater number of Filipinos. The whole process of policy-making is transparent and is informed by the expertise of bureaucrats. Simply, policy-making in a parliamentary system of government is more effective than the lawmaking process under a presidential system which promotes only familial interests and does not rely on expertise of the bureaucrats and the research community. The plenary sessions will bring out the debate based on issues and not on personalities. We should shift to parliamentary now!!!

    1. i agree let’s shift to parliamentary. i want to see how it will work for our country.

      but still not buying, the memorized lines about it being superior etc. that’s just opinion not a universal truth.

      i hope supporting the shift does not require me to support opinions i disagree with.


      i just realized. maybe mr dumdum’s followers can’t get rid of him because without him no one else will know what to say to promote parliamentary. in a way, they’re stuck with him.

      1. Shifting to a parliamentary system just to ‘see if it works’, is not like taking an aspirin just to see if it gets rid of a headache.

        It’s more like trying to stop a headache through leg amputation.
        Wrong diagnosis/prognosis, and the result is a man still with a headache but who can no longer play football. lose/lose.

      1. How many legislative hearings have I seen on TV? Lots, and on issues that were meant to give legislators the biggest leeway to grandstand. Have these hearings produced results to address pressing issues involving national interests? No, none at all. And now that everyone is aware these losers are actually entrusted with 200 million pork barrel allocations every year for six years, it makes me want to puke just at the amount of legislative work they have so far devoted their talents (relevant competence?)to. We are not even talking about the substance of legislations here, we are talking about the minimal amount of effort they actually devote to their job. Consider that some of them still have time to make soap operas and movies, this bicameral system propped up by a bad imitation of the U.S. presidential system just has to go!

  18. Where are all these principled politicians and professional ‘bureaucrats’.
    They suddenly appear once a system changes!
    I do not mean to be rude, but please do not be so idealistic or naive. That will achieve nothing.
    Many want change but dreaming and fantasising do not represent any practical or realistic path.
    Focus on key elements – such as pork barrel as you state – which has nothing to do with a wholesale change.
    Parliamentarians in the philippines have a hidden agenda, as you would expect, and it is not to do with the good of the country as a whole – as history and their failures/self-interest shows.

    Its not the system that is wrong per se, just the people.

  19. I personally do not believe that any political system will solve the ill of this nation because the problem isn’t in the political system itself – but with the people themselves.

    Simply put it, politicians will simply find ways to get around limits imposed by whichever political system in place. Limit the term of the office, kamaganak will simply rotate among themselves government position to stay in power. Create a law defining political dynasty, the people will create proxy to rule on their behalf.

    I have no hope for the current generation because their mind is too narrow (and stagnant) to be molded further. I set my eyes on the next generation to reign with integrity and honor.

    What we can do now is to mold next generation to be unlike this generation.

  20. I just want to say that I have difficulty looking at their “movement” without feeling a twitch of disdain, with their mud slinging and attempts at character assassination. So much for their advocacy.

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