Duterte appoints 2 more Con-Com members

Pia Ranada
Duterte appoints 2 more Con-Com members
Retired Navy commodore Rex Robles and lawyer Jose Martin Loon join the Consultative Committee, bringing the number of members to 22

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed two more men to the Consultative Committe (Con-Com) to study revisions to the 1987 Constitution.

The two new members are retired Navy commodore Rex Robles and lawyer Jose Martin Loon. Duterte signed their appointment papers on April 6.

Robles was among the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) members who met with Duterte in Malacañang back in August 2017, along with Senator Gregorio Honasan II. 

The RAM is a group of soldiers founded in the 1980s when patronage politics and corruption plagued the Philippine military during the Marcos regime. Led by Honasan, the RAM staged bloody coup attempts during the administration of President Corazon Aquino.

The RAM members were charged with rebellion and arrested. Then President Fidel V. Ramos granted amnesty to Honasan in 1992.

Robles is also the Navy officer who had claimed to media that high-profile military personnel received millions from government funds. He had spoken publicly about it after the suicide of his good friend, former military chief Angelo Reyes, who had been accused of receiving P50 million in send-off money.

Loon, the other new Con-Com appointee, is a young lawyer who co-founded law firm Aquende Yebra Aniag Loon & Associates.

According to his profile on the firm’s website, Loon was a senior aide and consultant of then Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, who is now foreign secretary, from 2010 to 2014. After working for Cayetano, he became the executive assistant and legal counsel of Iñigo and Mercedes Zobel from 2014 until the present.

Loon graduated from the University of the Philippines College of Law in 2013, and obtained his Master of Laws degree in National Security Law from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2015.

22 members so far

With the latest appointments, there are now 22 Con-Com members. Duterte’s executive order creating the committee called for 25 members.

This is the current full list of Con-Com members:

  • Reynato Puno as chairman
  • Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr
  • Randolph Climaco Parcasio
  • Antonio Arellano
  • Susan Ubalde-Ordinario
  • Arthur Aguilar
  • Reuben Canoy
  • Roan Libarios
  • Laurence Wacnang
  • Ali Pangalian Balindong
  • Edmund Soriano Tayao
  • Eddie Mapag Alih
  • Bienvenido Reyes
  • Julio Cabral Teehankee
  • Antonio Nachura
  • Rodolfo Dia Robles
  • Virgilio Bautista
  • Ranhilio Aquino
  • Victor de la Serna
  • Ferdinand Bocobo
  • Rex Robles
  • Jose Martin Loon

There had been concerns that Duterte’s Con-Com does not have enough women, representatives from the youth and indigenous peoples, and economists.

So far, Susan Ubalde-Ordinario is the only female Con-Com member.

The committee has until July to come up with a proposed new federal constitution which Congress may or may not adopt. – 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.