MANILA – Senators were urged to reject the draft Federal Constitution that the House of Representatives recently approved.
The House version was way different from the proposal of the Consultative Committee (Con-com), according to Conrado “Ding” Generoso, former spokesman of the body President Rodrigo Duterte tasked to review the 1987 Constitution.
“It is disgusting. It is nowhere near what the Con-com drafted as the Federal Charter,” Generoso told cable news channel ANC. “It reflects on what their interests really are, which is clinging on to power.”
“Their intention is also reflected in the removal of the anti-dynasty provision. They even removed the existing anti-dynasty provision in the 1987 Constitution. So that makes it worse than the current Constitution,” he added.
Generoso, who stepped down from the position to run for senator in the 2019 midterm elections, also said the House version was “a manifestation of a great disconnect” between Duterte, the House of Representatives and the people.
“President Duterte may not have endorsed the draft yet to Congress, but during the SONA (State of the Nation Address), he already announced that he was confident that the people will stand behind the draft charter when we introduced it to them, and he approved of it,” he said.
“And here comes the House coming up with an entirely different and a very self-serving draft. They removed the term limits. So the conversion there is unli-term, unli-dynasty. This is worse than the monarchies of the olden days,” he added.
In a 224-22-3 voting Tuesday night, the House approved Resolution of Both Houses 15, where the form and structure of the government will be a presidential-bicameral-federal system.
Under the approved measure authored by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the president and the vice president will have the same powers and functions, and they will be voted as one, similar to the system in the United States.
Moreover, in the bicameral legislative department, the House shall be composed of not more than 300 members (80 percent from legislative districts and 20 percent from party-lists), and the Senate, 24 senators.
Members of the legislative branch will have a term of four years with no term limits, as opposed to the current term of three years in the 1987 Constitution.
In addition, Supreme Court justices and judges in lower courts shall be appointed by the president from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council, which will replace the Judicial and Bar Council.
High court justices will serve for a term of 10 years or until they reach the age of 70, while the territorial and political subdivisions of the country will have its own political autonomy.
Furthermore, federal states will be created upon petition of any contiguous, compact and adjacent provinces, highly urbanized and component cities, and cities and municipalities in metropolitan areas.
Local governments and federal states will have to power to create their own sources of revenue and impose taxes, fees and charges, but the national government will provide local governments with their just share in national taxes as determined by law.
The passage of the measure has drawn negative reactions as the House prioritized this over other matters, such as the 2019 national budget./PN