MANILA -- House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez seeks to prioritize moves to amend the 1987 Constitution during the second regular session of the 17th Congress.
Alvarez said this may proceed even if a proposed consultative body has yet to be created by the executive.
In December 2016, Malacañang issued an executive order creating a 25-member committee that will conduct a “consultative review ” of the 1987 Constitution for amendments.
Alvarez, however, pointed out that the executive has been slow in appointing members to the body.
President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies have expressed preference for the Senate and House to convene as a constituent assembly to amend the 1987 Charter and effect a shift to a federal form of government.
“Gusto ko na rin umpisahan 'yung usapin ng pagbabago ng Saligang Batas. Mukhang hanggang ngayon dumaan one year 'di pa lumalabas 'yung constitutional commission na minungkahi namin so kung doon nabara eh 'di ituloy na lang namin na wala 'yun,” he said.
Alvarez is looking to formally begin moves to amend the charter by 2018.
"Baka siguro January 2018. Sa totoo lang nag-umpisa na kami ng committee hearing sa mga probinsiya, nagumpisa na ito," he said.
However, he concedes that getting a new draft charter approved in a plebiscite that will coincide with the 2019 midterm elections may be too soon.
"Ako, alam kong puwedeng pasa namin 'yan 2018 kaso 2019 elections baka 'di umabot kasi kailangan natin ng massive information drive. Kailangan maintidihan ng taong bayan kung ano ia-approve nila na constitution na saligang batas para pag sinubmit for referendum fully aware sila kung ano 'yung mga aaprubahan ng taumbayan," Alvarez explained.
Alvarez reiterated that the revisions will be so massive that it will need a major information campaign.
"Massive overhaul, lahat ng provisions siguro. Baka 'di lang maapektuhan masyado bill of rights," he said.