by Genalyn D. Kabiling
President Duterte is expected to meet with Congress leaders today in Malacañang to seek support for the administration’s priority legislations.
This will be the first Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting to be convened by the President this year.
Last November, Duterte discussed his government’s legislative agenda with a group of senators and congressmen in a “mini” LEDAC meeting at the Palace.
Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said the administration’s legislative agenda would be discussed in the meeting of the LEDAC chaired by the President.
The priority bills are categorized under security, justice and peace; economic development; good governance; and human development and poverty alleviation.
Banaag said Senate President, House Speaker, several lawmakers and Cabinet members, and representatives from the local government units and the private sector are expected to attend the meeting.
It is unclear if the Vice President, a member of the LEDAC, will be present.
In recent months, the President has openly pushed for the amendment of the 1987 Constitution to allow the shift to a federal form of government, believing it is the only way to resolve the decades-old conflict in Mindanao.
A commission has already been formed to review the Constitution and conduct consultations on the possible amendments.
Another pet bill of the President is the proposed revival of the death penalty in the country. Duterte recently echoed his desire to hang 20 criminals a day once death penalty is restored as part of the government’s aggressive peace and order campaign.
Among the administration bills are the tax reform package, amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Law, the Anti-Money Laundering Act and the Anti-Cybercrime Act, and freedom of information measure.
LEDAC, created through Republic Act No. 7640, serves as a consultative and advisory body to the President on programs and policies essential to national development. The law provides the council to meet at least once every quarter.
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