Con-con polls in 2017, new draft Constitution by 2018, plebiscite by 2019
MANILA - Presumptive Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said the incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will fast-track the plan to install federalism as the country's new system of government.
Pimentel on Tuesday bared the timetable they are looking at, saying they plan to put the country under federalism by the year 2022.
Pimentel said he himself will file the bill at the Senate on his first day as Senate President come June 30.
"I have a bill calling for a constitutional convention, purpose of which is to amend the Constitution," he said.
He allayed fears about a possible term extension for Duterte, or any other position, if and when there will be a change in the Constitution.
"Nakatingin lang ako sa economic side of it, not the political," he said. "We have to educate the people that the primary purpose of changing the Constitution is just for the change to federal system. Imbes sana na matakot sila, this is an opportunity to improve the good features of the 1986 Constitution."
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Pimentel said their game plan is to first pass the bill enacting a Constitutional convention (Con-con) for the purpose of shifting to federal system of government.
Once approved in both houses of Congress, an election for the ConCon delegates will be held by middle of next year, 2017, which also signals the start of the constitutional convention.
Pimentel said they will only be giving the Con-Con delegates until December 2018 to finish the new draft Constitution. After this, a plebiscite will be held by May of 2019, an election where the public will vote whether they would accept or reject the new Constitution.
If federalism wins in the plebiscite, the second half of the term of Duterte from 2019 to 2022 will serve as the transition period from unitary government to federal government.
Pimentel stressed that given this kind of timetable, he sees no need for Duterte to further extend his term.
"Hindi na po kailangan. With this kind of timetable, no need for term extension. Gusto na niya mag-retire noon as Davao mayor, ayaw na niya sana mag-presidente, tama na yung six years sa kanya," Pimentel said.
He added that in order to combat vested interests and negative public perception, they are planning to institute some safeguards among the Con-Con delegates.
"We are putting some disqualifications on Con-Con delegates from running the public office," he said. "Kapag delegado, bawal tumakbo in any public office for some period of time, may mga proposals pa nga na life-time ban."
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Watch this video on federalism uploaded by Rody Duterte - Volunteers For Change 2016 during the election campaing