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Rody’s secession call ‘foolish,’ plain arrogance–Carpio

Maricel Cruz & Rey E. Requejo

Former Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio on Thursday disparaged the call of former President Rodrigo Duterte for a separate Mindanao, describing it as “foolishness” and “sloganeering.”

Carpio, who also hails from Davao, stressed that the idea of Mindanao seceding from the Philippines through a process based on gathering signatures, as Duterte suggested, is against the 1987 Constitution.

“This is just a slogan. There is nothing to secede, it is against the Constitution. That is threatening the integrity of the national territory,” Carpio said, in an interview with GMA news.

“That’s just arrogance. They have been threatening to secede ever since… It’s been a long time, that was 20 years ago. But nobody will join them, this is foolishness,” he added.

On Tuesday, Duterte said it was Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez who first pushed for seceding from the Republic of the Philippines.

“There’s a process, I think, before the UN [United Nations] wherein you would gather signatures from all sorts of Mindanao verified underoath in the presence of so many people [to] decide that we want a separate… [state]” Duterte said.

Alvarez said the push for One Mindanao would be done through a signature campaign, similar to the recent drive to amend the Constitution.

Alvarez, a former speaker, said Mindanao has long been neglected despite its natural wealth.

In a radio interview, constitutional law expert Domingo Cayosa said having Mindanao secede from the Philippines was a “practical impossibility,” noting that the Constitution speaks of territorial integrity.

He also said even if 100 percent of the people in Mindanao opted to secede, the rest of the country would not follow.

“What Filipino will agree for our republic to fall apart?” he said in Filipino.

Leaders of the House of Representatives urged the former president to stop his foolishness and his making up stories about the people’s initiative for constitutional amendments.

House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe challenged Duterte to present proof that the House push for constitutional reform includes political amendments.

Duterte had claimed that once the nation is shifted to the parliamentary form of government, Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez would become prime minister and he would be succeeded by Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who chairs the House committee on constitutional amendments, said Duterte’s statement that the PI “will lead to some people to become prime minister and there would be a perpetuation of power has no constitutional and legal basis.”

“People’s initiative cannot change the form or system of government.

We are unitary, we cannot change it to federal through people’s initiative…we cannot also change a bicameral form of government into a unicameral form, because the PI will only be for amendments,” he said.

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