MANILA - Former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr., now a member of the consultative committee on charter change, on Saturday said qualifications should be raised for those seeking public office.
"Para sa'kin napaka-importante nito, ang kwalipikasyon ng mga tao na tatakbo sa public office. Tatakbo ka ng barangay, qualification mo able to read and write. Tatakbo ka ng congressman, senador, presidente, able to read and write. Dapat siguro dagdagan ang mga kwalipikasyon, taasan ang literacy requirement," Pimentel told radio DZMM.
The former senator, meanwhile, said representation is lacking in the 19-member consultative body appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
"Dagdagan ang representasyon ng mga babae kasi isa lang doon ah. Pangalawa, dagdagan ang representasyon ng mga IPs (indigenous peoples). So dapat madagdagan 'yun para balanse," he said.
Pimentel also reiterated his previous call to include provisions that would ban political dynasties when the government shifts to a federal system.
"Sa pagbabago ng Saligang Batas, isingit mo na rin ang mga probisyon doon: bawal ang private armies, political dynasties. At hindi tulad ngayon na 'yung pagbabawal ng political dynasty . . . ang wording ng Saligang Batas ngayon ay 'Political dynasties are prohibited in accordance with law.' Sinong magpapasa n'yan kung ang political dynasty ang nagkokontrol doon? he said.
"Ang problema rito sa bansa natin, maraming mga batas na maganda pero hindi na-i-implement."
Pimentel maintained that elections should not be suspended to give way to the government's transition to federalism.
"May mga report tayong natanggap na transitory provision 10 years. Palagay ko kalokohan na 'yan. How can you justify that, isantabi mo muna ang fundamental right of the people to elect their leaders in the country? Even for a good purpose. Because meron tayong kasabihan na the end does not justify the means," he said.
Lawmakers in both Houses have begun discussing proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution to give way to the shift to federalism, one of Duterte's key campaign promises.
House and Senate leaders met and agreed on Wednesday to focus on the "substance" of charter amendments and set aside differences over the mode of voting for the meantime, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said.