Philippines: Duterte may pitch for federalism, but passage of proposals far from assured: Senate

  • Senators are willing to listen to President Duterte if he will make a pitch for federalism, but it would not guarantee the immediate passage of proposals to amend the Constitution to shift the country to a federal system.
  • Former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr. on 20 Aug 18 said Duterte will “forcefully” act to make senators rejecting federalism “toe the line.”
  • Both the majority and minority blocs in the Senate in a rare consensus said they would not rush hearing proposals to shift to a federal system, including the one submitted by the consultative committee (Concom).
  • Senate President Vicente Sotto III expressed doubts that Duterte would talk to lawmakers on the issues as he is known to be respectful of the independence of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
  • The Senate committee on constitutional amendments, chaired by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, is still conducting hearings on Charter change proposals.
  • Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said he would listen if the President talks to them about federalism, but the legislative process cannot be rushed.
  • Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said all the senators, including Pimentel and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, were morally bound to support the unanimous decision reached in a caucus that the Senate will await the report of the committee on constitutional amendments on the issue.
  • Pangilinan said the committee would not be rushing its deliberations on federalism proposals, especially that it appears that such shift could mean more taxes for the people.

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