MANILA, Philippines – The Consultative Committee (Con-Com) released its newly-worded article on transitory provisions that incorporate changes that President Rodrigo Duterte had requested.
In the final draft of the Con-Com’s federal constitution, released on Tuesday, July 17, the modified transitory provisions explicitly state that the “incumbent President is prohibited from running as President in the 2022 elections under the Constitution.”
This was upon the request Duterte made during their meeting on July 9 when the committee turned over its draft charter to the President in Malacañang.
Duterte had asked for the modification after media-released copies of the draft showed it does not bar him from seeking the presidency again under a new constitution. He said placing an explicit prohibition in the transitory provisions would quell suspicions that he was using charter change to prolong his stay in power.
The new provisions also order the conduct of elections for Transition President and Vice President 6 months after the constitution is ratified in a plebiscite.
The two transition leaders are to be voted as a “tandem,” meaning the running mate of the presidential candidate that wins automatically becomes Transition Vice President.
The two leaders must fulfill the new requirements for the office under the new constitution, meaning they must possess college degrees or its equivalent.
The Transition President is tasked with ensuring the “orderly transition to a Federal Government.” The transitory provisions set June 30, 2022, as the end of the transition leader’s term.
It also states that the Transition President and Vice President cannot run for “any public office” in the May 2022 elections, the first regular elections under the federal charter.
Changes to Transition Commission
There were also some changes to the composition and powers of the Transition Commission, which some pointed out could become a dangerously powerful body.
The 10-member Commission is now larger with the addition of the Transition President, previous presidents, House Speaker, and Senate President as ex-officio members.
Another major change is the new wording on what happens to officials under the 1987 Constitution during the transition period.
In the final draft, all government officials under the current charter “shall continue to hold office unless removed by reason of reorganization in accordance with the transition.”
In the previous version, the counterpart section is that they will continue to hold office and exercise their powers “under such terms and conditions as may be provided in the transition plan.”
Thus, in the new draft, a specific condition is required for government officials to be removed: they can only be removed if the reorganization of the government structure requires it.
However, the phrase “in accordance with the transition” still places the discretion on the Transition Commission since they determine the transition plan.
Con-Com member Roan Libarios had earlier voiced apprehensions about this power of the Commission to declare all government posts, including those in the judiciary, Congress, and constitutional commissions as vacant.
He had wanted a provision that respects the tenure of government officials and personnel. He recommended that government officials and personnel be removed from their posts only if their positions are “incompatible with a federal government.”
“The only officials who will be affected are those with positions incompatible in a federal shift; otherwise, they should continue holding their office,” Libarios previously told Rappler.
Read the entire newly-worded transitory provisions here:
The term of the President and the Vice President, which shall end on June 30, 2022, shall not be extended.
The incumbent President is prohibited from running as President in the 2022 elections under the Constitution.
Within six (6) months from ratification of the Constitution, the President shall call for an election for the Transition President and Vice-President in tandem. The Transition President and Vice President shall possess the same qualifications and be subject to the same restrictions as provided in Article VIII of this Constitution. Congress shall, by law, provide for the conduct of the election and appropriate funds for the purpose.
SECTION 4. The Transition President shall preside over the orderly transition to the Federal System of Government. He shall exercise all the powers of the President under this Constitution until June 30, 2022.
The Transition President and Vice President shall be ineligible to run for any public office in the May 2022 elections.
(a) For an orderly transition to the new system of government as provided for in the Constitution, there shall be created a Federal Transition Commission, composed of the following:
1) the Transition President as Chairman;
2) ten (10) regular members who must be natural-born citizens of the Philippines, at least forty (40) years of age, with proven competence, probity, integrity, and independence, and expertise in the fields of economics, law, fiscal management, governance, or development, and who shall be appointed by the Transition President; and
3) the Transition Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and all living past Presidents as ex-officio members.
(b) The Federal Transition Commission shall convene within ten (10) days from the appointment of its members and promulgate its own rules of procedure.
(c) The Federal Transition Commission shall have the power to establish its office, appoint and hire its own officials and employees, as may be necessary.
(d) The initial budget of the Federal Transition Commission shall be taken from the contingent fund of the Office of the President and from the savings of the Executive Department. Its budget for the succeeding years shall be included in the budget of the Office of the President.
(e) The Federal Transition Commission shall complete its mandate and shall cease to exist by June 30, 2022. The new President shall complete the transition process to the federal system.
(f) Members of the Transition Commission shall be ineligible to run for public office in the May 2022 election.
The Federal Transition Commission shall have the following powers and duties:
(a) To formulate a transition plan for the orderly shift to the new system of government as provided for in the Constitution. The transition plan shall be published in the Official Gazette, in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation, and any digital platform chosen by the Transition Commission;
(b) For the proper execution of the transition plan, it shall promulgate the necessary rules, regulations, orders, proclamations, and other issuances, do all acts to implement the same, and resolve all issues and disputes that may arise therefrom;
(c) To organize, reorganize, and fully establish the Federal Government and the governments of the Federated Regions until 2022, in accordance with the Constitution; and
(d) To exercise all powers necessary and proper to ensure a smooth, speedy, and successful transition.
The transition plan shall include the following:
a) The respective transition plans for the different branches of the Federal Government, the independent Constitutional Commissions, the Federated Regions, and other component units;
b) The fiscal management and administration plan including, but not limited to, generation of revenue and resources and their appropriation, allocation, and expenditure; and
c) The establishment of mechanisms for people’s participation in the transition.
The Federal Transition Commission shall ensure people’s participation by involving faith-based, civil society, indigenous peoples, sectoral, non-government, and other community-based organizations in the transition, especially in the selection and screening of appointees to the new government.
The first national, regional and local elections under the Constitution to elect the President, Vice President, Regional Senators, District Representatives, Proportional Party Representatives, regional and local officials shall be on the 2nd Monday of May 2022. They shall assume office at noon on June 30, 2022.
All laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, rules, regulations, letters of instructions, and other executive and judicial issuances not inconsistent with the Constitution shall remain valid until amended or repealed.
All officials of the government under the 1987 Constitution shall continue to hold office unless removed by reason of reorganization in accordance with the transition plan.
Permanent employees of the government separated from service as a result of the reorganization of government shall be entitled to separation pay, early retirement pay, or retirement pay, or other appropriate benefits accruing to them under existing laws.
In lieu thereof, at the option of the employees, they may be considered for employment in the Federal Government, the Regional Government, or in any of its subdivisions, agencies, or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations and their subsidiaries in accordance with the existing civil service laws, the corporate charters of these corporations, and other relevant statutes.
Temporary employees in government service shall be given such benefits as may be provided in the transition plan.
All properties, records, equipment, buildings, facilities, and other assets of any office or body abolished or reorganized under the Constitution shall be transferred to the office or body to which its powers, functions, and responsibilities substantially pertain.