Duterte to campaign vs federalism if . . .
President Rodrigo Duterte will not hesitate to campaign against the shift to federalism if Congress will introduce amendments which he believes are against the interest of the Filipino people.
Malacañang made this statement after consultative committee chair, ex-Chief Justice Reynato Puno, criticized the House of Representatives’ version of the proposed federal Charter.
Puno previously called the House version of the proposed federal Constitution a disaster and a “falsified federalism” as it lacked certain provisions from the draft submitted by the constitutional commission.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured the public that the President was clear in wanting to shift to federalism as long as the amendments would benefit the people.
At a press briefing, Panelo urged lawmakers to listen to Puno and what he had to say on the proposed federal charter passed by the House.
“I hope Congress would listen to Puno and open themselves for amendments. They should reconsider,” he said.
Although the House passed its version of the proposed Charter this week, the Senate had declared that changing the 1987 Constitution was not a priority at this time.
Malacañang was hopeful that the Senate will come up with a good version of the proposed federal Constitution.
But Leyte Rep. Vicente “Ching” Veloso, chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments, defended the draft amended Constitution approved by the lower chamber on Wednesday before adjourning for the holidays.
Veloso said the House proposal provided a “more doable and more cost-efficient route” to amend the 1987 Constitution.
“While we respect the observations made by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, they are sadly misplaced,” he said in a statement.
“He’s entitled to his opinion,” Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo told reporters during a visit in Taguig City, when asked about Puno’s criticism that the House’s version was “a disaster for democracy.”
Veloso said the House utilized the consultative assembly mode of amendments simply because it was allowed by the Constitution.
The House leadership agreed that the amendments must also be approved by the Senate but the crafting of the Constitution need not be done together by both legislative chambers.
Veloso said another method of amendments, the constitutional convention, was “too costly” for the country.
The congressman also described as “absurd” the argument that the House acted only for its interest by removing the term limit provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.