Duterte eyes ex-CJ Puno to lead his own Cha-cha team

Carmela Fonbuena
Duterte eyes ex-CJ Puno to lead his own Cha-cha team
President Rodrigo Duterte also rejects Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s charter change timeline, saying his own Constitutional Commission will not be ready to present their recommendations until after the Holy Week break

MANILA, Philippines – The Charter change train will have to wait. President Rodrigo Duterte wants his own team to recommend amendments to the 1987 Constitution but it won’t be ready with its report until after the Holy Week. 

In an interview with MindaNews on Friday, January 12, Duterte talked about the Constitutional Commission (ConCom) that he has yet to form more than a year since he signed Executive Order 10 that created the body. 

EO 10 was created on December 7, 2016, to “study, conduct consultations, and review the provisions of the 1987 Constitution including but not limited to the provisions on the structure and powers of the government, local governance, and economic policies.” The body will report to the President, who will relay the recommendations to Congress.

Duterte said he is still vetting the members of the 25-man team but former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno is his “number one.” He said he may name them in “a matter of days.”

The other name he mentioned during the interview was lawyer Randolph Parcasio, the spokesman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction led by founder Nur Misuari. He said he wants the team to be inclusive. It will include lumads (indigenous peoples) and Moros. 

Nandyan na ‘yan. (It’s there). By the time they (the two houses of Congress) are ready to resume (session) after Holy Week, they (ConCom members) can be called by Congress. Each one of them and every one of them to present the structure, whatever,” he said. 

Duterte’s political party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) already has its own body drafting amendments to the 1987 Constitution. But his timeline does not match his party’s. 

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said he wanted to hold the plebiscite on the constitutional amendments as early as May 14 to coincide with the barangay elections that was postponed from October last year.

May 14 is the day Congress will resume session after the Holy Week break. 

Both chambers of Congress are poised to convene into a Constituent Assembly to amend the Constitution. They are debating whether or not they will vote jointly or separately. (READ: Joint voting on Cha-cha? Senate’s problems, plans against it). – Rappler.com

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