House recommits draft federal charter

MANILAThe House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon recommitted Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 (RBH 15), or the draft federal charter, to amend the transitory provision that skips over the Vice President in the line of succession to the presidency.

During Wednesday's plenary session, Cebu City Rep. Raul del Mar moved to recommit RBH 15 to the House committee on constitutional amendments "in order to introduce perfecting amendments" on the failure to include the Vice President in the first line of succession during the transition period to federalism, "which led to some misunderstandings."

"There is a need to clarify this," del Mar said. His motion was approved by the chamber.

The said provision states that: "In case a vacancy arises by reason of removal, resignation, permanent incapacity or death of the incumbent President, the incumbent Senate President shall act as President until a President shall have been chosen and qualified."

Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. submitted an amendment to the committee to replace the word "Senate" by the word "Vice."

RBH 15, which proposes revisions to the 1987 Constitution, was sponsored before the plenary on Monday afternoon. It was authored by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 21 other legislators.

It proposes a presidential-bicameral-federal system of government, and empowers Congress to establish federal states.

It also lifts the term limits for members of Congress.

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.

House constitutional amendments committee chairman Vicente Veloso earlier clarified that the draft federal charter is a two-year product of public consultations and several other drafts proposed by the PDP-Laban, the Consultative Committee, ABS Party-list Rep. Eugene de Vera and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales.

"Let it be understood that the committee has been working on a proposed revised constitution for about two years now. So it is unfair for anybody to claim that this is designed to address the political concerns of Speaker Arroyo. This is not an Arroyo draft," Veloso said, noting that the only provision the Speaker proposed is the mechanism to create federal states.

Veloso added that designating the Senate President as the President's successor during the transitory would address the "uncertainty" in the vice presidency amid the ongoing electoral protest of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.

"There is really a problem in so far as it is concerned in the vice presidency. Can we submit this republic to that uncertainty?" Veloso said.

The House Constitutional Amendments Committee approved and referred its draft federal charter to the plenary on Oct. 2. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency