Not undemocratic: Consultative committee member responds to Inquirer for attacking FB post re Federalism

Wow! For questioning the result of the Pulse Asia survey re Federalism and telling public to study it before rejecting, a member of the Consultative committee member on drafting of new Constitution has been unfairly attack by Inquirer.

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of San Beda College of Law, decried the Inquirer piece for accusing him of being “elitist” and “undemocratic” for the said statement he posted on his FB wall.

According to Aquino, he was merely questioning whether the respondents who rejected Federalism if they were aware what they were rejecting.

Aquino suspected that they were not rejecting federalism per se but Digong who is pushing for federalism.

He said it was a demand for rationality that obviously Inquirer does not favor.

Aquino describes the people rejecting federalism because Duterte likes it “despicable”.

Aquino said what annoys him is (non)reasoning because it merely perpetuates the irrationality that goes on in the country.

Aquino also defended his remark saying there is nothing undemocratic for telling anti-Federalism should study it before totally rejecting it.

Read the full text of the post below.

I have been told that the Editorial of Inquirer — I do not read the paper — did not take too kindly to my remark on people informing themselves about federalism before rejecting it. I will not take back my post, neither will I apologize for it.

I wrote the post on my FB Wall, because Pulse Asia (or some other Pollster) was announcing that 75% or so of Filipinos did not like federalism — and like any good researcher, I had to ask whether the respondents knew what they were rejecting because my suspicion was and still is that they were not rejecting federalism (about which I am very sure not many know enough) but Digong who is supportive of federalism. It was a demand for rationality that obviously Inquirer does not favor.

I have always found plenty of wisdom in Habermas’ theory of communicative action. Fundamental to this theory is the requirement that speakers be responsible, and one of the obligations of responsible speakers is to be able to back their claims and to provide the necessary warrants. How can one responsibly reject “federalism” without having studied it? That was my entire point. And there is nothing ELITIST and UNDEMOCRATIC about the requirement that federalism be studied. Plenty of material is freely available online.

Despicable is the rejection of federalism because Duterte likes it. It is that (non)reasoning that gets at me because it merely perpetuates the irrationality that goes on in the country. He who seeks to engage in discourse meaningfully must have the grounds and warrants that the logic of practical discourse demands.

As for the supposed “deception” during regional consultations, ConCom Members, as far as I know (I have not taken part in any, except in the SUC organized forum in the North) do not take polls and do not try to win support. The purpose of the consultations in the regions is to inform and to elicit reactions and feedback.

There is nothing undemocratic about requiring rationality in discourse. It ensures the continuing rationality of the exchange that should not be allowed to degenerate into annoying static. It is the presupposition of participating in democratic space.


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