Chief of Office of Participatory Governance Peter Tiu Laviña during a talk on Federalism said that discussing about the structure of the proposed shift to Federal system of government will cause endless arguments especially when it comes to the political arrangement.
Laviña, who delivered a lecture on Federalism at the Capitol on Wednesday, explained that the current information drive on Federalism as proposed by President Rodrigo Duterte is focused on the philosophy of Federal system and not on the structure.
“The campaign is centered on the principles of federalism and not on the structure, form because it will only become a ground for debate,” Laviña said.
Constitutional Commission Study group
Laviña revealed that the Constitutional Convention, as earlier proposed during Duterte’s election campaign, needs around P7 billion. Under the 1987 Constitution, a Constitutional Convention may be called by a majority vote or by vote of two-thirds of all members of Congress, where they may submit a question of calling such convention.
He said the pathway for Charter Change is in the direction of having a Constitutional Commission study group.
“What we are proposing now is Constitutional Commission study group who will help draft a proposed Constitution, and once it is finished,(sic) it will be then submitted to Congress as an Administration Bill for them to constitute as Constituent assembly,” he said.
The secretary said that the assembly will then consider the draft constitution. He added that they are waiting for the decision for their proposal.
“Nothing is final yet, but I think we are heading to that direction, instead of electing for Constitutional Convention or outright converting Congress into Constituent Assembly,”
He added that the President is still asking for more ideas or proposals, and wants the people to participate.
Former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, under her revolutionary powers, makes use of Constitutional Commission in drafting the 1987 Constitution.
Under the proposed constituted Constitutional Commission, Lavina said, the people can nominate at least four (4) representatives who shall be equipped legality, regional development, organizational management and taxation and finance.
He said legal background does not necessitate one to be a lawyer. Even law student, paralegal and a Court Justice can be nominated.
“Mas better na ma-constitute ang Constitutional Commission, unlike sa Constitutional Convention election, where anybody can just win even without background on the need of drafting a new constitution,” he said.
To fast-track the process, Laviña said they would ask Congress to nominate representatives to be part of the commission so they could iron out possible legal infirmities while the bill is still being drafted.
“We’ve learned our lessons from what happened to the bill for the Bangsamoro Basic Law now pending in Congress due to some legal questions raised by the legislators,” Laviña said.
Laviña added that based on Malacañang’s timetable, President Duterte plans to hold a plebiscite for the draft charter that would go along with the staging of the 2019 midterm election. (PIO) with reports from Kelvin Cañizares, Katrina Marie Diaz)