Cesar Virata is not the country’s first prime minister. Neither is he the first prime minister under the 1973 Constitution.
Senatorial candidate Larry Gadon wrongly identified Virata as the first prime minister while advocating for a parliamentary form of government in an interview with Apollo Quiboloy aired on Sonshine Media Network Inc.’s (SMNI)’s YouTube channel on April 16.
He also incorrectly said the Philippines adopted the parliamentary system under the “1975 Constitution.”
Gadon said at the 28:54 mark:
Noon sa 1975 Constitution, nagkaroon na ho tayo ng parliamentary system and ang kauna-unahan nating naging prime minister ay si Cesar Virata. (We already had a parliamentary system under the 1975 Constitution, and our first prime minister was Cesar Virata.)
When the first Philippine Constitution was promulgated in 1899, then President Emilio Aguinaldo appointed Apolinario Mabini as president of the Council of the Government, or the present-day prime minister. Mabini was replaced by Pedro Paterno after a few months.
There is no 1975 Constitution in the country, as Gadon misstated in the interview.
Instead, the 1973 Constitution during the Marcos dictatorship provided for a shift to a semi-presidential form of government and the position of prime minister.
In 1976, the 1973 Constitution was amended, which enabled Marcos to become both president and prime minister when the interim Batasang Pambansa election was held in 1978. Marcos, in effect, was the country’s third prime minister.
Marcos relinquished the post in July 1981 and appointed then Finance Minister Cesar Virata as prime minister, making him the country’s fourth prime minister.
Salvador Laurel, Corazon Aquino’s vice president, was the last prime minister. The position was abolished under the 1987 Constitution.
Gadon, a suspended lawyer, is with the Senate slate of presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
As of writing, the interview has garnered more than 250,000 views on YouTube, and reached around 239,000 views on SMNI’s Facebook page with more than 8,800 reactions and 3,900 comments. (PA)