Arroyo calls for ‘hybrid’ Constitutional Convention
Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has filed a bill detailing the composition of a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) following calls to amend the 1987 Constitution to put in place a federal form of government.
In House Bill 486 titled “Constitutional Convention Act of 2016,” Arroyo urged Congress to convene to elect members of the delegates for the Convention.
She said Congress should convene for election of the delegates within 10 days upon approving her similar bill House Concurrent Resolution 1 which urged both Houses of Congress to vote separately on the composition of the Constitutional Convention.
Arroyo’s version of the Convention is a hybrid of a Constitutional Convention, where delegates are elected by the people, and a Constitutional Assembly, where it is Congress which would convene to amend the Charter.
According to the bill, the Senate and the House would separately elect 12 delegates from its members to be part of the Constitutional Convention.
Within 10 days after the creation of the Convention, President Rodrigo Duterte will be mandated to pass an executive order appointing 24 delegates from various sectors of society to complete the line-up of 44 delegates in the Constitutional Convention.
“The delegates appointed by the President from various sectors of society shall be of recognized probity, independence, nationalism and patriotism,” the bill read.
The representatives who would be elected as Constitutional Convention members would not be deemed to have vacated their posts, the bill said.
Those elected or appointive officials are also prohibited from running in an election or be appointed in a government post until after the Convention has adjourned
The Convention is tasked to submit the revised Constitution within 120 days to President Duterte, who will be tasked to fix the date for a plebiscite to ratify the constitutional amendment.
The plebiscite should be held 60 days after the amendment is submitted to the President.
The bill earmarked a P700 million budget for the operations of the Convention.
Congress should also provide a venue for the Convention.
Calls to amend the Constitution gained ground in the House of Representatives after President Duterte called for Charter change to change the country’s system of government from unitary to federal, in a bid to empower local government units and decentralize the powers of Manila. With Kurt Lozano, INQUIRER.net trainee/JE/rga
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