Duterte says he won’t interfere with Con-Com work

Pia Ranada
Duterte says he won’t interfere with Con-Com work
The Philippine President, a federalism advocate, says he is 'not ready to inject anything' into the Consultative Committee's proposal on Charter Change

MANILA, Philippines – As the Malacañang-formed Consultative Committee (Con-Com) gears up to review the 1987 Constitution, President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not interfere with their work.

“I leave it up to you, kung ano ang gusto ‘nyo para sa bayan (what you want for the country). And I know that you would not do anything harmful,” said Duterte on Tuesday, February 13.

He was speaking at the oath-taking of new government officials, including the 19 members of the Con-Com.

“I am not ready to inject anything there…I do not want you to have second thoughts,” he added, speaking of the Con-Com’s target output – a proposal to Congress on possible amendments to the Constitution.

The President said he wants to give as much “leeway” as possible to the committee.

The Con-Com has 6 months to come up with its recommendations to Congress, which is set to convene as a Constituent Assembly to amend the charter.

“If we can produce a working document that will ensure something for good for even just [the] second generation. We will leave to them [the] final decison of what will also happen,” said Duterte.

Con-Com chairman and former Supreme Court chief justice Reynato Puno previously said the group is targeting to submit their proposal  before Duterte’s 3rd State of the Nation Address in July.

While Duterte says he won’t intervene in the Con-Com’s work, he has appointed mostly pro-federalism experts into the group. This is consistent with his push for a shift to a federal form of government, a system he says will lead to a more equitable distribution of resources and power throughout the country. (READ: Is federalism the silver bullet?)

As the Con-Com is meant only to recommend, there’s no certainty that its proposal will be adopted in whole or in part by Congress.

After their oath-taking, the Con-Com members had a meeting with Duterte. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.