Con-Com draft gives president all powers to prevent secession of regions

Pia Ranada
Con-Com draft gives president all powers to prevent secession of regions

Rappler

The draft constitution 'allows the president to assume all the necessary powers of government – executive, legislative, and judiciary – to prevent the breakup' of the federated republic, says Consultative Committee chairman Reynato Puno

MANILA, Philippines – To prevent any region from separating from a federal Philippine republic, the President will be given powers of all 3 branches of government, according to a draft constitution to be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We provided in the draft constitution that any attempt of a region to separate from the union will invite the exercise of the step-in powers of the president,” said committee chairman Reynato Puno on Tuesday, July 3.

These remarks were part of his speech explaining his vote in favor of the draft constitution. The committee approved the document as a whole, thus it will be submitted to Duterte by July 9.

Puno described the proposed presidential step-in powers as “awesome” and “all-encompassing.”

“They allow the president to assume all the necessary powers of government – executive, legislative, and judiciary – to prevent the breakup,” he said.

The section on these step-in powers is in Article XI (Federated Regions and the Federated Regions of Bangsamoro and the Cordilleras).

The idea is to make secession or separation of a region as undesirable or as difficult as possible, in order to keep the union of the federal republic “permanent and indissoluble.”

This is to address fears, said Puno, that a federal constitution will lead to the breaking apart of the country.

Section 2 of Article XI reads: “All Regions are permanent and indissoluble parts of the Federal Republic of the Philippines. It is prohibited for anyone to advocate, demand for, or support the secession of any Region from the Federal Republic.”

Any attempt, or even any advocacy, of separation is considered an “actionable wrong” in the draft charter.

“It is a duty of every citizen, a duty of every region to maintain the permanent union and its violation constitutes an actionable wrong,” said Puno.

In the earlier discussions of the draft, the idea of a permanent union and safeguards against any secession were contained in the proposed preamble. – 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.