OFFICE OF THE SENATE PRESIDENT
AQUILINO “KOKO” PIMENTEL III
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III spoke before the Philippine Bar Association on Friday, September 23 and encouraged its members to support the shift to federalism.
Pimentel was the keynote speaker for the Law Day celebration and induction of new officers of the Philippine Bar Association, the oldest voluntary association of lawyers in the country.
Arguing that the country, divided by more than 7,000 islands, 100 languages, and more than a hundred ethnic and tribal affiliations is a federal society, Pimentel turned the table on federalism critics by asking, “Why don’t we have a federal system in the first place?”
Pimentel cited the country’s positive experience with the decentralization brought about by the Local Government Code, a law authored by his father, former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimetel, Jr.
Pimentel said, “This is the logical destination of the journey that we started with decentralization and devolution.”
Pimentel outlined PDP Laban’s proposal for federalism, saying that there would be 11 states. Also, we could follow the French system of a strong Presidency with a Prime Minister.
He also clarified that the proposed parliamentary setup would remain bicameral, divided into an upper house called the Senate, and a lower house called the National Assembly.
Finally, Pimentel emphasized that the Philippines would remain one country with one flag and anthem, one armed forces and one national police force, one central bank, one monetary system, one foreign policy, and one public education system.
He admitted that the transition would be complex and difficult, and urged the assembled members of the PBA to cooperate by giving their inputs in the process.