Alvarez calls for constitutional commission to allay fears in Con-Ass
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday said he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to form a constitutional commission composed of 20 experts to aid Congress in amending the 1987 Constitution.
In an interview over dzMM, Alvarez said the formation of a 20 member constitutional commission would allay criticisms that political clans in Congress would have vested interests in proposing amendments to the Charter under a constituent assembly (Con-Ass).
Alvarez said he would ask Duterte to issue an executive order to form the commission that would assist Congress in overhauling the Charter.
“I will propose to our President to issue an executive order creating a constitutional commission composed of, let’s say, around 20 persons,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said he would pitch the following constitutional law experts to be members of the constitutional commission: former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., lawyer Reuben Canoy, Dean of San Beda Law School Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, and representatives from non-governmental organizations, the academe, and other sectors of society.
He said the constitutional commission would draft a new Charter which would be the basis of Congress in convening to propose amendments.
“They will be tasked to study and review the present constitution and then draft a new Charter, which will be submitted to the constituent assembly where it will be discussed thoroughly,” Alvarez said.
He said there is no legal impediment for Duterte to issue the executive order because it would still be Congress convening in an assembly to propose amendments in the Charter.
He said the public should not be wary of leaving Charter change in the hands of Congress because the amended constitution would still be ratified in a plebiscite.
“After Congress approves the proposed amendments, it’s not final yet. The public must still agree to the proposed changes. That’s why it’s safe because in the end it’s the people who would decide whether they agree or not with the proposed new constitution,” Alvarez said.
Duterte had said he would prefer Congress to convene as an assembly to propose amendments to the constitution, instead of the more expensive constitutional convention, whereby delegates that would amend the Charter would still be elected by the people thus costing government some P6 to P7 billion.
Duterte had called for Charter change to pave the way for a shift from unitary to a federal form of government to decentralize the powers of national government to the local government units. JE
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
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.