Veloso defends House draft Charter against ‘falsified federalism’ critique
MANILA, Philippines — The chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments has defended the chamber’s draft federal Constitution from criticisms that it offers a “falsified federalism” system of government.
Leyte 3rd Dist. Rep. Vicente Veloso said Article XII of Resolution of Both Houses of Congress No. 15 (RBH 15) was a “compromise solution” that “offers a gradual and progressive system for federalizing the Regions.” The provision was the brainchild of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Section B of Article XII states that a federal state “may be created in any part of the country upon a petition addressed to Congress” and “subject to approval by a majority of the vote cast in a plebiscite in the political units affected.”
In GMA News TV’s News To Go interview, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, head of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Consultative Committee (Con-com), called RBH 15 as a “falsified federalism” that pushes for a unitary form of government.
Veloso said Puno’s criticisms were “sadly misplaced,” as RBH 15 provided a “more doable and more cost-efficient route” to amend the 1987 Constitution.
He also said that unlike Con-com’s “very expensive” draft federal Charter, which proposed a total of 18 federal regions, the House’s version crafted instead Article XI.
“The Committee would not have finished its work if we have gone through with the debates,” he added.
Veloso likewise defended their preference to a Constituent Assembly mechanism arguing that “going down the road of a Constitutional Convention is too costly for the Republic.”
He again said removing the “no term limit” provision in their draft was a “good idea” that would “best serve the interest of the public because it does not prohibit the re-election of outstanding public servants and legislators.”
Veloso also nixed proposals of a hybrid model, where members of Congress and individuals appointed by the President could revise the Constitution, saying it has no constitutional basis.
Last Tuesday, barely three months since it was filed in September 19, the lower House swiftly approved on third and final reading the Arroyo-led draft federal Charter.
RBH 15 — principally-authored by Arroyo — proposes a presidential-bicameral-federal system of government.
DOCUMENT: The amended House draft federal charter
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