Duterte receives Consultative Committee’s draft constitution

Pia Ranada
Duterte receives Consultative Committee’s draft constitution
Malacañang hails the submission as a 'significant step' towards the shift to federalism and hopes Congress will give the Consultative Committee's proposal 'much weight'

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte received the draft federal constitution of the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) during a ceremony held on Monday, July 9, at Malacañang.

The document, handed to the President by Con-Com chairman Reynato Puno, is the product of almost 5 months of work by the 22-member committee. 

It proposes a federal-presidential form of government creating 18 federated regions, including federated regions of the Bangsamoro and Cordillera. (READ: Highlights of Consultative Committee’s draft federal constitution)

“We assure you that the Consultative Committee did its work with complete independence and unbiased by any partisan politics or by any elite interest,”said Puno in his speech during the turnover ceremony.

Duterte now has two weeks to study the draft constitution and suggest revisions before he delivers his 3rd State of the Nation Address on July 23.

The Con-Com is hopeful that Duterte will endorse the document to Congress which has the constitutional mandate to propose revisions to the 1987 Constitution.

Congress is free to ignore the Con-Com’s recommendations, if they wish. They can also choose to adopt certain provisions or the entire draft.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque had hailed the submission of the draft charter as a “significant step towards realizing [Duterte’s] promise to shift to a federal [system] of government.”

He hopes that Congress, dominated by Duterte’s allies. will take the Con-Com’s proposals into consideration as the group was formed by the President.

“We’re hoping that Congress will give it much weight as it prepares to submit proposed revisions to the Constitution to the people as a constituent assembly,” said Roque.

The draft constitution made headlines when a Con-Com member said it allows Duterte to run again as president after it is ratified. The member, political science professor Julio Teehankee, eventually took back his statement, saying his interpretation was erroneous.

The draft constitution explicitly states that the terms of Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo will end on June 30, 2022. It names Duterte as the chairman of a proposed powerful Federal Transition Commission, whose mandate will also end on June 30, 2022.

However, there is no provision expressly stating that Duterte cannot seek reelection as president under the new constitution.

Con-Com spokesman Ding Generoso had said that this is because adding such a provision is “undemocratic” as it “singles out one person.”

“The Constitution or any other law cannot have a provision that bars a particular individual from enjoying the rights and privileges that the constitution or law confers on all,” he said in a statement.

Duterte on Friday, July 6, said he is not interested in running for the presidency again. – 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.