Philippines: House readies draft of federalism charter

  • The House of Representatives is likely to transmit to the Senate a draft resolution paving the way for the shift to federalism in February, a key administration lawmaker hinted yesterday.
  • Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments, bared that only four lawmakers will interpellate on Concurrent Resolution 09 creating a constituent assembly that will draft the federal constitution.
  • House leaders led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez are rushing the draft federal constitution so that the plebiscite on it will be incorporated in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in May 18.
  • Mercado said the super majority coalition in the House prefers the constituent assembly mode over the costly people’s initiative or the constitutional convention, which Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles said will cost PHP7bn.
  • Mercado added that administration lawmakers are open to House members voting separately from their Senate counterparts like what they did when Congress extended martial law in Mindanao twice. But Mercado did not say if the counting of votes will be done separately or jointly.
  • Mercado said the concurrent resolution will involve only a minor revision and not a total overhaul of the 1987 Constitution, as per the declaration of Alvarez in his previous pronouncements.

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