MANILAThe push for a shift to a federal form of government is "very much alive" at the House of Representatives, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.
In a press conference, House committee on housing and urban development chairman Albee Benitez said the lower chamber intends to pass Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 15, which proposes revisions to the current 1987 Constitution, under the 17th Congress as a commitment to fulfill President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign promise of federalism.
"It is very much alive. It is ongoing and the Lower House intends to pass this measure in this Congress so that it can be transmitted to the Senate. As far as we are concerned, we are fulfilling the campaign promise (of Duterte) of changing the form of government to a federal form and the House is very much supportive of this call," Benitez said.
He made the statement amid Senate leaders' opposition to Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's draft federal charter.
"We don't have time to even talk about it, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said.
RBH 15, which has already been sponsored before a House plenary, proposes a presidential-federal form of government, wherein the President and Vice President shall serve a term of four years with one re-election.
The first election under the proposed Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of May 2022.
The term of the President and Vice President, which shall end in 2022, shall not be extended. The incumbent president is prohibited from running in the 2022 elections.
The proposal, however, excludes the Vice President from the line of succession in the transitory period to federalism. It puts the Senate President as successor should the position of the President become vacant during the interim.
The measure seeks to adopt a bicameral legislative department, composed of the House and the Senate, which shall have the power to create federal states.
Under the proposal, a federal state may be created in any part of the country upon petition to Congress by the contiguous, compact, and adjacent provinces, highly urbanized and component cities, and cities and municipalities in metropolitan areas through a resolution of their respective legislative bodies, subject to the approval by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite in the political units affected.
It deletes the provision that limits the terms of members of Congress. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency