Historic inauguration

jayThe inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte was historic.

For one, he was installed separately from the Vice President Leni Robredo.

The reason is very obvious.

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The Vice President is from the LP, or the Losing Party.

There is no legal nor constitutional defect  in having separate installations.

Our Constitution is heavily patterned from the Constitution of the United States.

But this is one instance where the Philippine text differs from the U.S.

Unlike in the United States, the Philippine electorate vote for the President and Vice President individually or separately.

Our Constitution says that “The President and the Vice President shall be elected by a direct vote of the people.”

The Constitution also says that “There shall be a Vice President who shall have the same qualifications and term of office and be elected with and in the same manner as the President.”

Apparently this is another of those “Marcosian effects” to ensure there is no total consolidation of  power in one party among the top elected officials in government, or the Executive branch for that matter.

It was thought best the electorate be given the chance to choose a vice president from a different party, if they  prefer.

I think this is a bad set up.

I think the Vice President should just be  “tag-along”, and not be elected separately from the President.

What has happened  is that the vice presidents who were elected belonged to a different political party.

The result is that the  vice president  would amount to nothing but a spare tire, rather than do something more useful.

Fr. Joaquin Bernas, Constitutionalist, says the role of the Vice President is essentially  President-in-reserve, a standby, just in case the Presidency becomes vacant.

Bernas recounts there had been attempts in the 1986 Constitutional Commission to give the vice president a constitutional function other than just being vice president, but these attempts failed.

Bernas says that unless the vice president is appointed as a member of the Cabinet or is given an executive function,  the vice president has no other function than to be prepared to assume the presidency should a vacancy in the office arise.

Bernas also says the President is not obliged to give the vice president a cabinet position because the President  must be free to choose for his Cabinet people who are his trusted personal choices.

This I totally agree.

President Duterte should not feel obliged to appoint Robredo to any function.

She belongs to a different political party who, theoretically, believes and pursues a different political  platform.

The Liberal Party  pursues a “disente” agenda. (That’s what they said during the campaign)

While Digong is masang-masa.

The contrast could be no clearer.

So a vice president with a “disente” agenda would not fit in a party in power  whose main focus is to uplift the lives of the not-so decent.

And who are these? The masa.

So when  the people elect a President  and a Vice President from different political groups, having separate inaugurations is not surprising.

Blame the Constitution for this.

We hope that, if the Constitution is changed, only the President should be elected by the people.

The vice president should merely be a tag in the ticket. (Atty. Jay I. Dejaresco)



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