House OKs draft federal charter on 2nd reading
MANILA, Philippines — With five session days left before Congress goes to break, the House of Representatives approved on second reading its proposed draft federal charter with no anti-political dynasty provision.
The chamber approved on second reading the amended Resolution of Both Houses of Congress (RBH) No. 15 via viva voce or voice voting during its Tuesday plenary session. The period of debates on the resolution was terminated on Monday.
A copy of the amended RBH 15 has yet to be released to the media, but during the period of amendments, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio’s proposed anti-political dynasty provision was rejected by the plenary.
The measure can only be approved on third and final reading after three session days unless certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The approval came after Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared last Friday that they would concentrate on the draft federal charter this week.
The resolution, principally authored by Arroyo, provides for a presidential-bicameral-federal system of government.
3rd reading approval by Monday
In an interview inside the House premises, Constitutional Amendments panel chair and Leyte 3rd District Rep. Vincente Veloso said the chamber may pass the measure on final reading by Monday.
Once the resolution gets the nod of the lower House on Monday, the lawmaker said their secretary-general would then transmit it to the Senate for its consideration.
“It becomes a problem now between the Senate and the President. We have done our job,” Veloso added, belying criticisms that the House leadership railroaded the measure.
Conrado “Ding” Generoso, the spokesman of Duterte’s Consultative Committee, has raised several red flags on the House draft charter, branding it as worse than the 1935 Constitution as it lacks an anti-political dynasty provision.
Under the House draft, members of Congress would be elected for a term of four years. There was no term limit provided, but lawmakers should be college degree holders.
The first election under the proposed Constitution would be held on the second Monday of May 2022.
The draft also became controversial when it excluded the Vice President from the line of succession during the transition period to a federal form of government.
Because of the backlash, the lower chamber returned the draft to the committee level on October 10.
Last November 12, the House panel agreed to place Vice President Leni Robredo back in the line of succession. /je
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