Charter change body to start formal discussions

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2018 09:27 AM | Updated as of Feb 19 2018 09:45 AM

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MANILA - A group of experts formed by President Rodrigo Duterte to study changes to the 1987 Constitution will begin formal discussions on Monday.

The 19-man consultative committee, led by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, hopes to present a draft charter to the President before he delivers his State of the Nation Address in late July.

The body will begin debates as both houses of Congress deliberate on proposals to shift to a federal form of government. Federalism was a cornerstone of Duterte's 2016 presidential campaign, which the then Davao City mayor said would help distribute wealth and political power to the countryside.

The daily meetings will be open to the public to ensure transparency, said University of Sto. Tomas political science professor Edmund Tayao, a member of the consultative committee.

Tayao said the President specifically directed the committee's recommendation to address the decades-long conflict in Mindanao.

"I'm confident that when we come up with the final draft, it is something the President will not only endorse, but will also be proud of," said Tayao.