Palace distances from House draft federal charter

MANILAMalacaAang on Tuesday said it will not intervene in the House of Representatives' draft federal charter, noting that it was their constitutional obligation to make such a proposal.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark when asked to comment on a provision in the House's charter that wants the Senate President and not Vice President to be next in line to the President should the country transition to a federal system of government.

We leave it so far to Congress because that's the constitutional obligation of the Congress. If they so decide to submit proposals to amend or revise the Constitution, it will come from them if the mode chosen is through a constituent assembly, Roque said in a Palace briefing.

On Monday, the Consultative Committee (ConCom) tasked by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to draft the proposed federal constitution has slammed the House version of the charter, saying the removal of anti-dynasty provisions would make it a hard sell.

They (House) removed the entire provision so where are we headed with this? We already know the problem of political dynasties, ConCom spokesperson Ding Generoso said in a television interview.

You remove the anti-dynasty provision, you remove the term limits. This could be even worse than the 1935 Constitution, he added.

Generoso said the ConCom, chaired by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, is not inclined to support the House's charter.

The Consultative Committee have made a decision that without the political reforms, without the anti-dynasty provisions, in particular, without the anti-turncoastism provisions, the group of CJ Puno will not support such a draft constitution, Generoso said.

Under the ConCom's draft charter, there are self-executory provisions banning political dynasties, defining the coverage up to second-degree of relations by blood or marriage, which prohibits succession at all levels.

It also prohibits political family members from running for or holding more than one position except for one national and one regional or local position.

Recent survey results also showed that the shift to a federal system of government was the least of Filipinos' priorities and that the majority were not inclined to support it.

Generoso said with the House version of the charter, which allows political dynasties, it might not be received well by the public.

The House draft charter also lifted the term limits for members of Congress.

Many people have doubted with regard to any move to revise or amend the Constitution. When you trust it to Congress, they have not been able to make any anti-dynasty law in 30 years, what can they come up with? Generoso said.

He, meanwhile, said the ConCom is sticking to its original proposal which he deemed as more acceptable.

This (House version) should be very difficult to sell to the publicBut if we stand by the ConCom draft, we believe the ConCom draft is more acceptable to the public than this draft, Generoso said.

The House Constitutional Amendments Committee approved and referred its draft federal charter to the plenary last Oct. 2.

Meanwhile, the ConCom approved its version of the charter on July 3 and was presented to the President on July 9. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency