Who's Afraid of a Parliamentary Form of Government?

About two years ago, I wrote a blog called, “Who’s Afraid of Cha-Cha?” With all this talk about Charter Change again, I feel I need to add in more thought about the topic, this time focusing the Parliamentary form of government, which is one of the main issues for Charter Change.

‘Term Limits’
The Opposition hates a Parliamentary form of government. They just absolutely hate it. This is for the simple reason that a Prime Minister has NO TERM LIMITS.

To them, they insist that becoming a Prime Minister is GMA’s ploy to stay in power indefinitely. Are they right, then?

No, they are wrong. Dead wrong.

It is true, that the most Senior Minister (and therefore head) of the Cabinet in a Parliamentary form of government, the Prime Minister, does not have a maximum term limit, allowing him or her to stay in power indefinitely, at least theoretically.

However, what the Opposition will NOT tell you, is that while it is true that a Prime Minister does not have a maximum term limit, it is also true, that it does NOT have a minimum term limit. A PM can theoretically be fired within a very short amount of time after assuming power. I’m not aware of the technicalities of whether it is a matter of hours, weeks, days or months before a PM can be fired, but it definitely be no more than in terms of months.

A Prime Minister is not like the Presiden in our current system wherein if elected, that person gets to lead the country for six years, no more, no less, whether we like it or not. In truth, a Prime Minister actually has less, much less, security of tenure than that of a President in our current form of government. That is because there is a mechanism to remove a Prime Minister relatively quickly, and that is thru a vote of no confidence in the Parliament.

‘Security of Tenure’
But, you ask, GMA controls the Parliament, how can she be voted out, then?

Simple. Another show of People Power-like rallies. You have to remember, that politicians first and foremost, look out for themselves. This means they will not necessarily follow the Prime Minister thru thick and thin. Once “thick” happens, and they see an opportunity to enhance their power (possibly becoming Prime Ministers themselves), they will take it.

The politicians want to remain in power, and they can only do that, if they are popular. Once they become “unpopular”, the see a threat to their own means of livelihood and profession. Once that happens, then expect them to act naturally (at least most of the time) as it should, which is do what the people want.

‘Why the Opposition is Against It’
But, you protest, if that is true, that all it will take for a Prime Minister to be ousted from power are People Power rallies, then why are the Opposition against it?

Because, they know that they could not hold People Power-sized rallies. I mean, in the eight years that Gloria has been in power, they have not been able to do so, despite the constant black propaganda against the government.

Nine years of failure to remove GMA, and they now know their only light at the end of the tunnel in terms of having a shot at removing the Administration, is thru elections.

Their fear, is this: If the Administration continues to do well economically, then they will not be able to manipulate the people up to kick the Administration out. That means much less chances for them to gain power.

If the country does well economically, the people will then be relatively contented enough not to join mass rallies. When that happens, the Opposition is then out of the ‘kulambo’. For a long time.

‘Why Gloria, Then?’
I have to admit, that I am for GMA serving the country again, as long as it is in the position of a Prime Minister. I feel that with the less security in tenure, a PM is more motivated to ensure that things are being accomplished by his / her government, because they know the minute they mess up big time, they are out of power.

Nothing like the threat of being fired to motivate somebody to continue to have a close watch on their performance.

But why Gloria? Why not, say, Noli De Castro? For a couple of reasons:

First, because Gloria has a proven track record. Despite what the Opposition says, her Administration has made significant strides economically, and in improving the country’s infrastructure.

Second, in this overpopulated Roman Catholic country of ours, it will take decades of steady economic growth for it to rise out of its thirld world status. And I think the only way to ensure that continuity, is to have the same leader lead it for that amount of time.

The same thing happened in countries like South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. True, they took different political paths than we have to get to where they are right now, but one important factor present in all three countries for me, is the long length of tenure with a steady economic growth under one leader. Right now, Gloria could be that leader.

Third, is that when you elect a new leader in power, there is usually is called a “learning curve” for that person in terms of running the country. “Learning curve” is a fancy way of saying he or she will screw up his or her first one or two years in power, before he or she gets it right. That is, if ever that person does get it right.

That amount of time I feel is a waste, especially when you consider the fact that if the person screws up, and has to be replaced, then that person’s successor will also undergo the same “learning curve” again. So more time lost there.

It is a prospect that a country with a growth rate of around two million people a year simply can NOT afford to undergo.

Hence, let Gloria sit there, until she finally has enough of the job and quits, or screws up big time and has to be replaced.

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One thought on “Who's Afraid of a Parliamentary Form of Government?

  1. I’m with you on this one. I solemnly believe that the opposition is simply using the reason, “GMA will stay in power”, as a cover-up for their political stupidities. Like it or not, the majority is not always right, which is why I never bothered to join any freaking rally regarding GMA’s removal from power. It’s the economy that matters, not the politics. If the 2010 elections will push through, there’s no way I’m voting Noli de Castro, Loren Legarda, or Joseph Estrada for that matter. The said candidates simply have no proven record of promising better economic performance or any experience or education concerning the stimulation of economic growth. If you ask me, I think the closest candidate with a substantial education and experience is Manuel “Mar” Roxas III.

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