MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives approved on 2nd reading a resolution that would amend the 1987 Constitution and shift the Philippines to a federal system of government.
On Tuesday, December 4, majority of lawmakers said aye to Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 15, penned by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and 35 other legislators. (READ: Highlights of the House’s draft federal constitution)
The proposed constitutional revisions would only be finalized if 3/4 of all members of the Senate and the House, “voting separately,” move to revise the 1987 Constitution.
The phrase “voting separately” was an amendment introduced by Alliance of Concerned Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio, which the plenary agreed to adopt on Tuesday.
What are the major constitutional changes found under RBH 15?
- Does not impose a specific number of federal states to be established. A federal state may be created upon a petition addressed to Congress by contiguous, compact, and adjacent provinces, highly urbanized and component cities, and cities and municipalities in metropolitan areas through a “resolution of their respective bodies.” The resolution must be approved by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite to be held in the political units affected.
- The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region is recognized as a federal state.
- The president and vice president must be from the same party and shall be elected as a team.
- Sets the term of the president and the vice president to 4 years. They will both be eligible for one reelection.
- Removal of the anti-dynasty provision
- Removal of the two-term limit for senators and the 3-term limit for district and party-list representatives
- Revival of the two-party system, with the first two “dominant” parties garnering the most number of votes during the first national elections under federalism becoming the official parties
- Requirement for candidates for president, vice president, and Congress members to have a college degree
- The House speaker, not the Senate president, becomes chairperson of the Commission on Appointments
- Removal of the line limiting the participation of foreign investors in the governing body of entities based on their proportionate share in the capital
- Sets the first national and local elections for the new president, vice president, senators, representatives, and local officials on the second Monday of May 2022. Winners will assume office at 12 pm on June 30, 2022.
- Incumbent President not allowed to run for the same position in 2022
- Restoration of the incumbent Vice President in the line of succession during the shift to federalism. RBH 15 previously placed the Senate President as the President’s successor should he be unable to perform his duties.
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)
But ranking senators already said RBH 15 will be “dead on arrival” at the Senate. – Rappler.com