HOUSE of Representatives Minority Floor Leader Rep. Francis Escudero called for the active involvement of the youth in the country’s political crises during a symposium, “Finding Our Way Out: A Symposium on Constitutional Change in response to the Philippines Political Crisis,” at the UST High School auditorium last Sept. 2.

“The youth, who make up a large part of the population, should stop their political abstention and now is the chance for them to take part in the great political process of the country,” he said.

Escudero said active involvement constitutes a healthy democracy. For as long as there is no violence, there is still a free exchange of opinions, and democracy prevails. He explained that Filipinos should not be afraid to make a stand on the country’s current political situation because it is part of the learning process in a new political system.

Last Aug. 31, the House Committee on Justice members voted to junk the amended Oliver Luzano and Jose Lopez impeachment complaints against President Macapagal-Arroyo. Pro-impeachment lawmakers hope to gather at least 79 votes to overturn the Committee’s resolutions.

Escudero, a lawyer by profession, stressed that most of the pro-impeachment lawmakers belong to the younger generation of politicians.

“Our advocacy for a new political system shows that the youth today won’t be taking our country’s political situation sitting down. The younger generation of politicians want to show that the youth is ready to take responsibility for our country’s welfare,” he said.

Escudero also said that a constitutional convention at this time is improper since the impeachment case is still ongoing.

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“If we should have a constitutional convention, we should do that after the impeachment proceedings because one of the proposals is to shift to a unicameral legislature. That would have the effect of abolishing the impeachment court, which is the Senate, and we definitely cannot do that until the impeachment process is over,” he said.

Meanwhile, political science professor Edmund Tayao of the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets) believes that Filipinos should change the country’s political structure, such as a shift from presidential to parliamentary form of government, because the current form of government is a failure.

He said a constitutional convention is the best body to draft amendments to the constitution.

“We must have a constitutional convention, so that Filipinos will owe up to their own constitution, and hopefully, they will show support with this new constitution because they are convinced that it will be responsible for a real change in the Philippine politics,” he said in the same forum.

Attended by Artlets Legal Management students, the symposium was organized by the Artlets Legal Management Society, in cooperation with the Thomasian Debaters’ Council. Jianne dL. Yamzon

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