Con-Com leaning toward retaining bicameral Congress

Pia Ranada
Con-Com leaning toward retaining bicameral Congress
The committee en banc is set to vote on its recommendations on the structure and powers of the legislative and executive branches on Monday, March 12

MANILA, Philippines – The Consultative Committee (Con-Com) in a meeting on Monday, March 5, reached a “tentative consensus” to recommend a bilateral set-up of Congress in the new constitution they will propose to President Rodrigo Duterte.

“So we agreed on a Congress and we agreed on a bicameral congress – Senate and the House (of Representatives),” said former Supreme Court justice Antonio Nachura after the meeting.

This, however, is not yet final as the en banc will still have to vote on it. 

Con-Com chairperson Reynato Puno explained why the committee is leaning toward retaining the current bicameral set-up of the legislative branch. 

Having a Senate, aside from a House of Representatives, provides more checks and balances critical to a democracy, he said. 

He pointed out that the Philippine Senate has the power to check on abuses of power by the House of the Representatives, the President, and the judiciary.

“That is why it has the impeachment power, so you cannot eliminate the Senate because it plays a very significant role in a scheme where you have separation of powers and checks and balances,” said Puno.

Legislative, executive

During the Monday meeting, the Con-Com members present went through proposed revisions of Article 6 in the 1987 Constitution, which deals with the legislative branch and the powers relative to the crafting of laws.

Nachura said the most contentious discussions were on the number of senators, representatives, and constituent states.

This week, the Con-Com aims to complete discussions on the government structure.

On Tuesday, March 6, they will likely continue hashing out issues on the legislative branch and executive branch. On Wednesday and Thursday, the committee is expected to take up constitutional provisions on the judiciary, said Nachura. 

On Monday, March 12, Nachura said there will likely be an en banc in which issues on the powers and structure of the executive and legislative will be voted on. – 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.