DILG thanks House for restoring VP succession in draft charter

MANILA The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday thanked the House of Representatives for re-including the Vice President in the presidential line of succession in its draft federal charter.

Earlier, Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar told reporters that House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo agreed to return the provision where the Vice President is the first successor to the presidency ahead of the Senate President during a proposed transition period.

We are happy that Congress decided in plenary to return or reinstate the Vice President in the line of succession, DILG Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a Palace briefing.

Malaya pointed out that the reason for the earlier proposal that the Vice President has no place in a federal system, is that the original plan was a parliamentary system.

In a parliamentary system, there is no Vice President. But in this case, since we are maintaining the presidential system in both the ConCom draft and in the House draft, we are retaining the presidential system, we see no reason why we should remove the Vice President from the line of succession. I think the Congress made the right decision in reinstating the line of succession, he said.

The ConCom refers to the Consultative Committee, which President Rodrigo Duterte had tasked to draft the proposed federal charter. It approved its version of the charter on July 3 and was presented to the President on July 9.

Retain ConCom provisions

Malaya, meanwhile, asked the House to consider retaining other provisions found in the ConCom's proposal, including those on federated regions, and justice and electoral features.

He said that he noticed how the House version on the establishment of federated regions is open-ended and is dependent on the discretion of Congress.

However, Malaya stressed that a true federal Constitution already creates the federal government and the federated regions and the process is not dependent on the approval of the central government.

It is our opinion that to make the process of creating federated regions or federal states entirely dependent on the central government goes against the very nature of a federal system, he said.

He urged the House to retain provisions on term limits, self-executing Anti-Dynasty provisions, Federal Supreme Court, Constitutional Commissions, Federal Electoral Court, and Federal Constitutional Court.

The DILG official also wanted the House to retain other innovative provisions, including the proposal that the impeachment process must be a joint task of Congress and the Judiciary, wherein Congress becomes an investigative body while the Judiciary becomes the judge.

It is our opinion that this would ensure a more professional and impartial system in resolving cases against impeachable officers, Malaya said.

He asked the House to retain the proposed Federal Electoral Court for the speedy disposition of cases.

This provision will de-clog the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the regular courts, and the Supreme Court of numerous cases, Malaya said.

In fact, this will also replace the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, the Senate Electoral Tribunal, and the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. At the same time, this will relieve the Commission on Elections of its quasi-judicial functions and will focus on preparing for upcoming polls, he added.

He also sought to retain the proposed Federal Constitutional Court because it relieves the Supreme Court of constitutional cases and will contribute to an efficient justice system.

The Federal Constitutional Court will also serve as an advisory body, giving recommendations on laws to be acted by Congress and orders made by the President, he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency