MANY changes are expected in the incoming Duterte administration. The new president will undoubtedly take immediate action on his campaign promise to stop illegal drugs in the country in three to six months. He will go all-out in implementing the Reproductive Health (RH) Law enacted during the Aquino administration. He will mobilize the military and the police in a campaign to bring about peace and order in Mindanao.
There are, however, programs where he will need support from the legislative department of the government. In his call for the restoration of the death penalty for heinous crimes, for example, Congress needs to enact a law, as provided for in the Constitution. The RH Law already contains provisions aimed at regulating population growth, but President-elect Duterte’s call for a three-child policy may need a law affirming this as a basic national policy.
Then there will be changes that require constitutional amendment, such as reorganizing the Philippine government along the lines of a federal state. For this purpose, a Constitutional Convention must be called, or Congress can approve an amendment by a vote of three-fourths of all its members.
To carry out these and other changes as the need arises, the incoming president has been urged to make use of the consultation and planning process provided by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), created through Republic Act 7640 in1992 during the Ramos administration.
The LEDAC is an advisory body headed by the president. Its members are the vice president, the Senate president, the House speaker, seven members of the cabinet, three members of the Senate, three members of the House, and a representative each of local government units, the youth sector, and the private sector.
Incoming Sen. Win Gatchalian recalled that the LEDAC played a key role during the Ramos administration as it gathered officials of the government in regular meetings that discussed key issues, problems, and programs so thoroughly and exhaustively, that any needed action by Congress was speedily achieved.
President-elect Duterte needs all the help he can get if he is to achieve all the changes that he has in mind. He is now drafting many good workers for his cabinet and for the many other offices of the executive department. The changes he needs to make will require the support of many more people, such as those in Congress and other government offices, and in the private sector.
The LEDAC is an established institution that proved helpful to previous administrations, although not so much in the outgoing Aquino administration. President-elect Duterte could make good use of it to carry out his program of wide-ranging change for the country.