MANILA - Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno on Thursday gathered members of his consultative committee, reminding them that their task was not for the faint-hearted, and urging legislators to wait for the body’s proposed federal constitution.
The committee plans to submit its output to President Rodrigo Duterte by July 19, an effort that will run parallel to that of legislators, who are set to draft their own constitution as well.
"It’s best that we are able to present to Congress the final work of this group of experts," Puno told reporters.
Former Senate President Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. was more forthright in saying Congress should wait.
"Definitely, kasi kung merong consultative, anong silbi nun pag hindi nila hintayin ang aming output?" he said.
(Definitely, because there's a consultative committee. It's useless if they don't wait for our output.)
Pimentel’s son and namesake, the current Senate president, earlier told ANC that senators would not "consciously wait" for the Puno committee’s proposal and that it would be treated "like any other reference material."
Puno earlier acknowledged his group’s job was recommendatory, citing Duterte’s executive order that created it.
But its job, nonetheless, would “demand courage for there will always be a rush to resist any radical change in the power structure of society.”
"Our given task will terrorize the faint of heart," he said in a speech at the committee’s preparatory meeting.
"We should be ready to receive catcalls instead of cheers, especially from the few who rule and who think they have an imprescriptible patent to govern our people."