Con-com should welcome views of ordinary Filipinos, oppositors

MANILA The consultative committee (Con-com) reviewing the 1987 Constitution should also welcome the views of ordinary Filipinos as well as oppositors to Charter change, a committee member said Monday.

Committee member and former Senate President Aquilino Nene Pimentel made this call during the Con-com's first session noting that nobody has a monopoly of knowledge.

It is important that other views should be welcomed because nobody has a monopoly of knowledge and everybody's views should be treated with respect, Pimentel told reporters in an interview after the first Con-com session held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

Pimentel, who was resource person to the Senate hearing on Charter change last month, stressed the importance of oppositors being able to air their own sentiments.

One well-known oppositor is former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., who during a January 17 Senate hearing, said that he saw absolutely no need to amend or revise the Constitution.

Davide even described plans to revise the 1987 Constitution as a leap to hell.

In the same hearing, Con-com chairperson and former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, however, disagreed with Davide noting there was a need to overhaul the Charter.

Pimentel, who has long been a federalism advocate, however, said that the idea of having an independent Con-com would be a dream that would have to be proven.

He also said that dialogues to amend or revise the law should not involve politics since the idea is to improve the lives of all Filipinos.

To say that this will be completely independent of the thrust of the administration would be a dream that will have to be proven, Pimentel said.

I am infused with the proposal to adopt a federal system for our country and that is not dependent on President Digong. Before he was president, I already advocated that. And also, I wish to emphasize that this is an advocacy that is not intended to be taken up by partisan politics because this is an advocacy for the good of the people, he added.

Meanwhile, Pimentel also saw the need to include representatives from the women sector and indigenous people (IPs) in the 25-member Con-com to represent more sectors.

Pimentel, during the session, suggested that the Con-com membership should be already completed before the following formal dialogues take place.

Even if the six more members are appointed few days from now, they will have missed out on some of the days in which they could have shared their expertise. This should e done as early as possible, Pimentel added.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier signed Executive Order No. 10 creating a consultative committee tasked to review the 1987 Constitution in line with his proposed shift to a federal form of government, which is among the top priorities of the Duterte administration.

Last February 9, the 25-member Con-com, 19 of which were appointed by Duterte, held its closed-door preparatory meeting also at the PICC.

Source: Philippine News Agency