Palace to Congress: Listen to Puno, be open to amendments on draft charter
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Friday said Congress should listen to former Chief Justice Reynato Puno and remain open to amendments on the draft federal charter.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the remark after Puno, who headed President Duterte’s Constitutional Commission (ConCom) in reviewing the 1987 Constitution, called the approved House version of the federal charter a “falsified federalism” that pushes for a unitary form of government.
“I hope Congress would listen to former Chief Justice Renato Puno and open themselves with amendments. They should reconsider,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“Otherwise, there might be the danger of people rejecting the proposed amendment to the constitution. That would be a waste of people’s money,” he added.
Panelo also claimed that the President would campaign against the ratification of the House’s version “should Congress introduce amendments to the Constitution — and they meet as a constituent assembly — and (if) it is against the interest of the people.”
The House version did not adopt the draft submitted by the ConCom to Malacañang.
Salient points of the House version is the exclusion of the anti-dynasty provisions and it has done away with the term limits for Congressmen.
The draft charter seeks the establishment of a two-party system, where the President and Vice President would be elected in tandem, both with a four-year term subject to one re-election.
It also adds a college degree as a requirement for holding national elective positions.
Lawmakers voted 224-22-3 in favor of Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 15 on December 11.
Authored by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and 35 other legislators, RBH 15 was filed on September 19 and was approved on second reading last December 4, with only three session days allotted for plenary debates. /ee
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