By Ellson Quismorio
Lawmakers from the House of Representatives expressed belief that the executive and legislative departments can now go on full blast with changing the constitution after President Rodrigo Duterte’s order for the creation of the 25-member consultative committee (con-com).
“With the creation of the 25-member con-com that will revisit the 1987 Constitution and come up with proposed amendments for consideration by the Congress convening as con-ass (constituent assembly), the executive and legislative branches of government could now put the federal switch on the fast lane at the onset of 2017,” said Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte.
The Duterte administration’s main motivation for cha-cha is to allow the switch to a federal system of government from the current unitary system. Proponents of federalism said this change would pave the way for a more progressive Philippines.
However, congressmen are also calling for the lifting of restrictive economic provisions in the charter to go with the system overhaul.
AKO-Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe believe that the con-com will cover all of these areas once they get to work. “I am more than confident that the con-com will not leave any stone unturned insofar as reviewing our present Constitution [is concerned].”
“I believe that they will scrutinize and debate on whether [or not] to amend all provisions from the most fundamental and highly significant down to the seemingly innocuous provisions,” he added.
Villafuerte, one of the lead advocates of federalism in Congress, said “the creation of the con-com, which will have six months to come up with the proposed constitutional reforms, would keep on schedule President Duterte’s goal of facilitating the federal shift on his watch.”
Villafuerte noted that this is the best setup possible since it would allow Congress to focus on urgent legislative measures without taking too much of its time holding endless debates on proposed amendments to the Constitution.
“Creating a con-com composed of experts would also ensure that a thorough and authoritative review of the Constitution, devoid of the vested interests of the individual interests of lawmakers, would be done,” said the Camarines Sur lawmaker.
Tags: 1987 Constitution, Charter change, Constituent Assembly, Consultative Committee, executive, House of Representatives, legislative, Manila Bulletin, Philippine constitution, Solons say ‘cha-cha’ talk to go full blast with ‘con-com’