House Speaker eyes EO for Constitutional Commission

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2016 05:17 PM

MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez will ask President Duterte to issue an executive order (EO) to create a Constitutional Commission (Con-Com).

Speaking to radio DZMM, Alvarez on Monday said the Con-Com would aid the Constitutional assembly (Con-ass) in amending the Charter and paving the way for a federal system of government.

"Ipo-propose ko po sa ating Pangulo na magbuo ng Constitutional Commission sa pamamagitan ng executive order -- siguro composed of 20 learned persons na bihasa po sa constitutional law," he said.

"Sila po ang maaatasan na pag-aralan at gumawa ng draft ng revised Constitution natin."

Members of Congress would debate on the proposed amendments from the Con-Com, he said. The new Constitution will be finalized once it is approved by a majority of Filipino voters in a plebiscite.

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Duterte originally preferred to review the charter through a Constitutional convention (Con-con), whose delegates are chosen through election.

Alvarez said Duterte favored Con-ass after learning that some P7 billion would be needed for the Con-con.

Some critics, however, said having a Con-ass revise the Constitution will open it to suspicion that sitting lawmakers will write their vested interests into the charter.

In reaction, Alvarez said: "Hindi ko rin naman masisisi iyung taumbayan dito dahil sa mga pangyayari sa nakaraan kung saan medyo nawala ang tiwala ng taumbayan sa Konreso."

He said the Con-Com is envisioned to dispel fears that sitting lawmakers will advance their self-interests in drafting the new Constitution.

The House Speaker said he was eyeing the following as Con-Com members:

- Retired Chief Justice Renato Puno
- Former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Ruben Canoy
- Fr. Joaquin Bernas, dean emeritus of Ateneo Law School
- Former Senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel II
- Former Comelec Chairman Christian Monsod
- Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella earlier said that any outcome from charter change should not benefit current leaders.

"First and foremost, whatever results will be from the Con-con or Con-ass, it will be for the benefit of the next generation of leaders, right? It will not be affecting them directly. So, being self-serving doesn't really come into play here," Abella said.

'Con-ass' self-serving? Palace says no