Philippines: Senators: Federal charter won’t pass muster

  • Senators are doubtful about the passage of the bill revising the 1987 Constitution for a shift to a presidential-bicameral-federal system as they devote their time to plenary debates on the 2019 national budget.
  • Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Senate is too busy debating on the national budget, which the House of Representatives transmitted more than a month behind schedule.
  • “(The) chances of the federal draft charter making it in the Senate at this point are very doubtful,” said Sotto. “(The House) should have submitted the (General Appropriations Bill) to us earlier so that we may have time to take up any other controversial measure.”
  • The Senate started plenary debates on the national budget as well as marathon debates on 5 Dec 18.
  • Earlier on 4 Dec 18, the House approved on second reading a draft bill authored by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo revising the 1987 Constitution’s current form of government into a presidential-bicameral-federal system.
  • For Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, the proposed measure is a “waste of time.” Sen. Francis Pangilinan said a federal draft charter is an important issue that should be discussed thoroughly, noting that only 3% of Filipinos are in favor of the shift to federalism.
  • Sen. Francis Escudero does not think the Senate will be able to pass the measure “for lack of material time.”

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