Arnel Endrinal

 

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SUPPORTING CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM

Like many other people, I used to oppose constitutional reform. I thought they are perpetrated by sitting presidents who like to become dictators and supported by politicians who like to become their cronies. I thought those who support it are Marcos loyalists who benefitted from the dictator’s regime and wanted someone like him back to give their privileges back.

And then I became a radio commentator (for reasons which will be discussed perhaps in a future article) and I started arguing on air with those who support it. The first thing I realize is that yes, Marcos followers seem to support it, but there are more anti-Marcos people who do. In fact one of the first and most ardent constitutional reform advocate I interviewed is a known author who wrote a damning book about Imelda.

Easily, the Marcos angle is out. I thought maybe its just in the nature of polticians to want it, to perpetuate themselves in power. And what better way would they be able to perpetuate themselves than by changing our beloved American-style presidential democracy into a dictator-prone undemocratic parliamentary system, right?

So I formulated my arguments based on that. But then, again, my theory is easily debunked by facts. No, parliamentary systems are not undemocratic - most of the world’s advanced democracies use it. No, parliamentary systems are not prone to dictatorship - most dictators became so under a presidential system. I used to argue that Marcos became a dictator because he adopted a parliamentary system. Oh boy was I wrong. The fact is Marcos became a dictator at the time when we were under a Presidential system. Marcos created a constitution with a parliamentary system and subverted it by essentially putting the parliament under him.

So then, I focused on nationalism. I don’t want foreigners invading our country militarily or economically. We need to defend our small businesses at all cost, right? Again, presented with facts I learned I was dead wrong. Most if not all advanced economies in the world are (and became advanced because they are) open to foreign investments. And no, we are not defending our small businesses by limiting investments to Filipinos. It turns out we are defending only the oligarchs, the big Filipino businesses that remain big because of their political connections.

It went on and on. I argued against constitutional reform and all my arguments are debunked. I realize that the arguments against it are merely a product of group-think. I became an advocate of critical thinking. Later in ending my radio shows, I say my opinion doesn’t matter, nor does it matter whether my listeners agree with me or not. What matters is that all of us form our opinion not based on what others say, but based on what we know are facts.

In short, I was against constitutional reform until I ran out of questions arguing against it. Now, I am a supporter.

 

Engr. Arnel B. Endrinal

Contributor, People's Draft

08 November 2021

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