House approves draft federal constitution on 2nd reading

Mara Cepeda
House approves draft federal constitution on 2nd reading

Darren Langit

Lawmakers give their nod to Resolution of Both Houses 15 after dedicating only 3 days of plenary sessions for debates

MANILA, Philippines – The proposed federal constitution is one step away from being passed in the House of Representatives, after Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 15 was approved on 2nd reading.

Legislators gave their thumbs up to the resolution through viva voce voting or a vote of ayes and nays on Tuesday, December 4. This means RBH 15 will only have to go through a 3rd and final reading in the House. (READ: Highlights of the House’s draft federal constitution)

The movements for RBH 15 have been swift in the House. Plenary debates lasted for only 3 session days, wrapping up on Monday, December 3.  

RBH 15 has been drawing flak for its controversial provisions, including the removal of the anti-dynasty provision, lifting term limits for Congress members, the return of the two-party system, and requiring elected officials to have college degrees. (READ: No set number of federal states under Arroyo’s draft constitution)

The vice president was initially removed from the line of succession during the shift to federalism. RBH 15 previously placed the Senate president next in line should the president be unable to perform his or her duties.

After criticism, Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered the House committee on constitutional amendments to put the vice president back in the line of succession. This was among the amendments to RBH 15 approved on Tuesday.

Arroyo has already conceded RBH 15 will not be passed during the 17th Congress, but she still hopes to “bring it as far as we can bring it” in the House. (READ: House aims to pass draft federal charter by early 2019)

Its chances of passage in the Senate are bleak, however. Ranking senators already said RBH 15 will be “dead on arrival” at the Senate. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.