By Ben Rosario
The 25-man Consultative Committee has left a senior opposition lawmaker in a state of disbelief over the body’s decision to hold public consultations after approving a draft Constitution that will be soon sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for his approval.
“The farce of federalism continues to bedevil the nation as belated regional consultations on the “Federal Constitution” are scheduled,” said Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, head of the opposition bloc Magnificent 7.
He was apparently referring to an announcement made by ConCom chairman and retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno that regional consultations relating to the draft Constitution will be held soon.
However, Puno has disclosed that the draft of the “Federal Constitution” that the ConCom has approved will be sent to Duterte on or before July 9.
“This patently places the cart before the horse because the approval of the “Federal Charter” by the Consultative Committee is a fait accompli and there is no more time to deliberate on and incorporate regional inputs before the draft of the “Federal Constitution” is submitted to the President in a couple of days,” said Lagman.
The opposition lawmaker added: “This consultation is overtly designed to secure, if not coerce, popular anointment of the Consultative Committee’s handiwork which was approved without the benefit of prior extensive local consultations.”
Similar public consultations are also being conducted by the House Committee on Constitutional Revision headed by Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, it was learned.
Groups supporting the Duterte administration’s push for federalism have also been staging barangay and local public consultations.