Highlights of Consultative Committee’s draft constitution

Pia Ranada
EXCLUSIVE: A complete copy of the draft constitution includes an entirely new article on 'National Security and Public Order.' Here are highlights of each article.

MANILA, Philippines – A complete draft of the Consultative Committee’s (Con-Com’s) proposed federal constitution obtained by Rappler gives a good picture of the document to be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for his consideration.

The draft, a June 30, 2018 version, is identical in substance to the version approved by the Con-Com on Tuesday, July 3. 

According to sources, there are minimal differences between the two documents, as changes were mostly due to the deletion of redundant wording. Rappler’s comparison of parts of the July 3 and June 30 drafts confirmed this.

The committee has decided not to release the July 3 version to the public until it is submitted to the President.

The complete draft can be found at the end of this article.

Rappler will be publishing a series of stories on the most interesting articles in the draft.

Here are some highlights in the draft constitution:

Preamble

  • Mentions “permanent and indissoluble nation” as a safeguard against secession by a region.

Article I – National Territory

  • Has two sections, declares sovereign rights over Philippine Rise and sovereignty over territories belonging to the Philippines “by historic right or legal title,” thus covering Sabah.

Article II – Declaration of Principles and State Policies

  • The Philippines pursues a policy of “freedom from weapons of mass destruction,” not just from nuclear weapons as provided in the 1987 Constitution.
  • There is no longer any mention that the Federal Republic “guarantees full respect for human rights,” as in Section 11 of the current Constitution. The section that most corresponds to Section 11 states that the Federal Republic “values the dignity of every person and guarantees full respect for the person and the right of all citizens to participate in all government processes.”
  • Recognizes that information communication technology plays a vital role in nation-building.
  • New phrase that says the Federal Republic “shall promote the autonomy of local government units in accord with federalism.”

Article III – Bill of Rights

  •  Under a new section of Civil and Political Rights is the right to privacy in which interference in correspondence and data is illegal. Unreasonable surveillance, not just unreasonable searches, will only be allowed if authorities obtain both a search warrant and surveillance warrant. Individuals can demand that government agencies delete illegally obtained information related to them.
  • “Lawless violence” is added to the grounds for suspending the writ of habeas corpus.
  • A new section on Social and Economic Rights states that every person has a right to adequate food; universal and comprehensive healthcare; complete, quality education; adequate and decent housing; and livelihood and employment opportunity.
  • A new section on Environmental and Ecological Rights states that every person has the right to a healthful environment, clean air, clean water, clean soil, and clean surroundings; to seek compensation for damage to the environment; and to seek “immediate relief” from courts through the writ of kalikasan and other protective writs. 

Article IV – Citizenship

  • No changes 

Article V – Suffrage and Political Rights

  • The Federal Republic is responsible for “strengthening of political parties as mechanisms of citizen representation and democratic governance.”
  • Political parties are required to register with the Federal Commission on Elections and submit documents like constitution and by-laws, platform, list of national officials, and heads of local chapters.
  • States that political parties must ensure the democratic process of making decisions and selecting candidates for public office. There should be equal representation of women candidates in every election “as far as practicable.”
  •  Creates a Democracy Fund where citizens or groups and corporations can donate to, to be distributed to political parties and presidential candidates.

 

Article VI – People’s Initiative, Plebiscite, and Referendum

  • This entirely new article allows citizens to file a petition to amend the Constitution or enact, amend, or reject a federal law with the Federal Commission on Elections.

Article VII – Legislative Department

  • Senators are elected per region, not nationwide. Regions elect two senators each. 
  • Members of the House of Representatives will number 400. Of this, 60% are elected by electoral districts, while the remaining 40% will be elected nationwide through a system of proportional reprsentation. 
  • Senators and representatives are required to hold a college degree or its equivalent.
  •  Senators and representatives are to serve a term of 4 years with one reelection.

Article VIII – Executive Department

  • The president and vice president are elected as a team. The president must appoint the vice president to a Cabinet position.
  • Both serve a term of 4 years with one reelection.
  • Both must hold a college degree or its equivalent.
  • “Lawless violence” added as one of the grounds for a president to suspend the writ of habeas corpus or declare martial law.
  • The section on Senate concurrence on treaties and international agreements is still not clear on whether Senate concurrence is also necessary for pulling out of such agreements.

Article IX – Judicial Department

  • 4 High Courts created – Federal Supreme Court, Federal Constitutional Court, Federal Administrative Court, and Federal Electoral Court.
  • Justices of these courts are to serve a term of 12 years or until the age of 70, whichever comes first. 
  • The President, another court, and Congress’ Commission on Appointments get to appoint an equal number of members to each court.

Article X – Constitutional Commissions

  • 6 Constitutional Commissions: Federal Civil Service Commission, the Federal Commission on Elections, the Federal Commission on Audit, the Federal Commission on Human Rights, the Federal Ombudsman Commission, and the Federal Competition Commission.
  • The CHR is elevated to a constitutional commission with the responsibility to investigate human rights violations both by state and non-state actors.
  • Definition of a human rights violation as “any violation of the rights guaranteed by this Constitution and by international human rights covenants and treaties to which the Philippines is a party, perpetrated by the State or non-state actors.”
  • Office of the Ombudsman now a constitutional commission composed of a Chief Ombudsman as Chairperson, and 4 Associate Ombudsmen representing Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and the Metropolitan Manila Region. 

  • The Federal Competition Commission is to probe and decide on cases of violation of competition laws and review proposed mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other business combinations that could lessen competition.

Article XI – Federated Regions and the Federated Regions of Bangsamoro and the Cordilleras

  • There will be 18 federated regions – 16 federated regions (including the new Negrosanon region) and the federated regions of Bangsamoro and Cordillera.
  • Except for the last two, each region will have a Regional Assembly, half representing each province, highly urbanized city, and independent chartered city; and half representing political parties through proportional representation. Members must hold a college degree or its equivalent.
  • Regions will be led by a Regional Governor and Deputy Regional Governor elected as a team. They are to be elected by majority of the Regional Assembly from among its members. The deputy governor will serve as the assembly’s presiding officer.

  • Each region will have a Regional Supreme Court; Regional Appellate Court; Regional Trial Courts in component provinces, cities, and municipalities; lower courts; and special courts.
  • Bangsamoro and Cordillera regions  – The two are recognized as assymetrical regions due to their identity-based demands.
    • The signed “Bangsamoro Organic Act” is to be appended to the Federal Constitution. 
    • The Federated Region of the Cordilleras will be composed of the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, the City of Baguio, and the component city of Tabuk. It shall be entitled to 75% share of all net revenues in the exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources in the region.

    •  The constitution calls for an Organic Act for the Federated Region of the Cordilleras.

Article XII – Distribution of Powers of the Government

  • Exclusive powers of the Federated Government:
    • Defense, security of land, sea, and air territory
    • Foreign affairs
    • International trade
    • Customs and tariffs
    • Citizenship, immigration, and naturalization
    • National socioeconomic planning
    • Monetary policy and federal fiscal policy, banks, currency
    • Competition and competition regulation bodies
    • Inter-regional infrastructure and public utilities, including telecommunications and broadband networks
    • Postal service
    • Time regulation, standards of weights and measures
    • Promotion and protection of human rights
    • Basic education
    • Science and technology
    • Regulation and licensing of professions
    • Social security benefits
    • Federal crimes and justice system
    • Law and order
    • Civil, family, property, and commercial laws, except as may otherwise be provided for in the Constitution
    • Prosecution of graft and corruption cases
    • Intellectual property
    • Elections

Exclusive powers of the Federal Regional Governments: 

    • Socioeconomic development planning
    • Creation of sources of revenue
    • Financial administration and management
    • Tourism, investment, and trade development
    • Infrastructure, public utilities, and public works
    • Economic zones
    • Land use and housing
    • Justice system
    • Local government units
    • Business permits and licenses
    • Municipal waters
    • Indigenous peoples’ rights and welfare
    • Culture and language development
    • Sports development
    • Parks and recreation

Article XII – Fiscal Powers and Financial Administration

  • Taxes and fees to be collected by Federal Regions:
    • Real property tax
    • Estate tax
    • Donor’s tax
    • Documentary stamp tax
    • Professional tax
    • Franchise tax
    • Environmental tax, pollution tax, and similar taxes
    • Road users’ tax
    • Vehicle registration fees
    • Transport franchise fees
    • Local taxes and other taxes which may be granted by federal law
  • Federated Regions to be given at least 50% of all the collected taxes on income, excise, VAT, and customs duties; and 50% of all net revenues derived from the exploration, development, and utilization of all natural resources within their territory.
  • A 16-member Federal Intergovernmental Commission administers an Equalization Fund which will go to regions that need financial assistance. The fund will be 3% of the General Appropriations Act.

Article XIV – Accountability of Public Officers

  • The President, Vice President, members of the High Courts, and constitutional commissions may be removed by impeachment.
  • Congress will form a Joint Impeachment Committee upon its convening composed of the Senate President as presiding officer and 12 members from each chamber. Impeachment complaints are to be filed with this committee.
  • The indictment resolution and Articles of Impeachment are to be filed before the Federal Constitutional Court or the Federal Administrative Court, depending on the case. The courts will then rule on the matter.

Article XV – National Economy and Patrimony

  • Filipinos or corporations with 60% ownership and control of Filipinos can lease a maximum of 1,000 hectares of alienable lands of the public domain for a maximum of 25 years, renewable for another 25 years. Congress given power to change requirements for lease of alienable lands through law.
  • Exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources is a power shared by Federal Government and Federated Regions.
  • Ownership and control of mass media limited to Filipino citizens while corporations with 70% of voting capital with Filipinos can engage in the advertising industry. Congress given power to change the voting capital requirements by law.
  • Congress given power to change requirement that corporations engaged in public utilities must have at least 60% of its voting capitol stocks with Filipinos.
  • Educational institutions limited to Filipinos and corporations of which 60% of capital is owned by Filipinos. Congress also given power to change this by law.

Article XVI – Social Justice

  • States that no person shall be denied employment by reason of age, gender, political or religious belief, ethnicity, status, physical appearance or disability, and other conditions that amount to discrimination.
  • States explicitly that the Federal Republic must protect overseas Filipinos from “inhumane treatment by their employers.”

  • Private sector to be given incentives for providing employment for disabled persons.

Article XIX – National Security and Public Order

  • This entirely new article defines the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its responsibilities, and measures to insulate it from partisan politics, which in the 1987 Constitution are to be found in the General Provisions.
  • States that the AFP must protect the republic’s sovereignty and territory including its land, air, sea, space, and “cyberspace.”
  • “Adequate remuneration and benefits” for AFP personnel is “a prime concern of the Federal Republic.”

  • The tour of duty of the AFP Chief of Staff, Chief of the Philippine Federal Police, and the Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard, shall not be less than two years and not more than 3 years from the time of appointment, unless sooner removed by the President for loss of trust and confidence.

  • Creates a federal police force civilian in character and an armed and uniformed Philippine Coast Guard “responsible for maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, maritime safety, maritime environmental protection, maritime security,” among other functions.

  • Recognizes a cyberattack as a threat to national security and orders the establishment of a “cyber security infrastructure” to protect the republic from “unauthorized domestic or foreign intrusion such as cyberattacks and cyber warfare on its public utilities, cyber installations, and private entities.”

 

Article XX – General Provisions

  • Allows the President to “intervene” and “take all measures necessary” to address a region’s failure to  “comply with its obligation as provided for in the Constitution which seriously undermines the sovereignty, territorial integrity, economy, or the unity of the Federal Republic.” 

Article XXI – Amendments or Revision

  • Clearly states that, in the case of amending the Constitution via Constituent Assembly, the Senate and House of Representatives are to vote separately.
  • The proposed amendment will only be valid if there is a majority vote in all federated regions in a plebiscite.
  • No amendment of the Constitution is allowed within 5 years from its ratification. Same prohibition will be at work when it is amended again.

Article XXII – Transitory Provisions

  • Explicitly states that the terms of President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo will not be extended. They will end on June 30, 2022.
  • Creates a Federal Transition Commission within 5 days after the Federal Constitution is ratified. It will be chaired by the President and will be composed of 10 other members to be appointed by the President from a list provided by a search committee. 
  • The Transition Commission formulates its own rules of procedure and creates a “transition plan” for the “orderly shift to the new system of government.” To implement this plan, the commission can promulgate rules, regulations, orders, decrees, proclamations, and other issuances.
  • The Commission should ensure “people’s participation” in the transition, referring to non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, indigenous peoples, and other civil society organizations.

  • All laws, proclamations executive orders, judicial issuances “not inconsistent with the Federal Constitution” remain valid until amended or repealed.

  • All officials of the government under the 1987 Constitution shall continue to hold their office and exercise their respective powers and duties under such terms and conditions as may be provided in the transition plan.

 

Below is the draft in full (NOTE: We have reproduced the draft we obtained in another format.):

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– Rappler.com 

 

 

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.