Gov’t to pursue constitutional reforms in honor of Nene Pimentel – Interior Dept.

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The government will pursue constitutional changes to honor the late former Senate President Nene Pimentel, known for his strong support for federalism, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Wednesday. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 23) — The government will pursue constitutional changes to honor the late former Senate President Nene Pimentel, known for his strong support for federalism, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Wednesday.

“Senator Pimentel wanted the administration to build a bridge for the next generation of Filipinos to pursue a better life in the future,” said Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya in a statement. “We will honor this through constitutional reforms that he had advocated all his life.”

The reforms will include a clear provision on the Supreme Court’s ruling on the petition of Batangas Governor Hermilando Mandanas, which increases the internal revenue allotment (IRA) of all local government units, he added.

In a case filed with the high court, Mandanas questioned the basis of the IRA, which did not include excise, value-added and documentary stamp taxes, as part of the national internal revenue taxes. The local government units would receive 30 percent from the national internal revenue tax collection and this would increase annually by five percent in the succeeding two years.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that local governments are entitled to a 40 percent share of all government taxes not just from the national internal revenue, but this has yet to be implemented.

Pimentel authored the Local Government Code of 1991. He was a champion of federalism and democracy, which Malaya pointed out, inspired President Rodrigo Duterte to seek office in 2016.

Malaya said the Cabinet-level Task Force CORE (Constitutional Reform) is also finalizing amendments and discussions on “political and economic reforms.”

Pimentel’s honor and memory

Veteran lawmakers and incumbent senators also offered words of praise to Pimentel during a necrological service at the Senate on Wednesday.

Former Senator Heherson Alvarez lauded his former colleague for his determination to protect the rights of Filipinos.

“The right to pursuit of happiness, the right to economic freedom that is pursued by true democracy has been pursued by this soulmate of mine, my Nene Pimentel,” Alvarez said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III called Pimentel his “idol friend” and said the former lawmaker was a true model of respectable public service.

Matapos mapag-aralan ang iyong buhay, pwede naman palang pumasok sa pulitika at mamaalam na marangal pa rin. Paalam po,” he said in his eulogy.

[Translation: After looking at your life, I see that it is possible to enter politics and leave with integrity. Farewell.]

Senators Risa Hontiveros said she sees Pimentel as an honorable “face of the opposition.”

“He protected and defended our country and our people. Walang bahid ng dudang ipinaglaban at minahal niya ang ating bayan,” Hontiveros said.

[Translation: Without any doubt, he fought and loved our country.y]

Pimentel was a prominent figure agains the Marcos regime in the 1970s. He was ousted from his position as Cagayan De Oro City mayor at the time, and was reinstated after the People Power Revolution.

Pimentel’s son, Senator Koko Pimentel, acknowledged in an emotional statement, how the late senator was a father figure to all he had met. He said it was difficult to process the loss of his father, but he and his family found comfort in his father's legacy.

“He gave and sacrificed the best years of his life through this institution, his beloved Senate,” he said. “Nene Pimentel was my teacher I know he was yours too... He was a father of our nation.”