2 lawmakers file 83-page draft charter to replace 1987 Constitution

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2017 03:56 AM | Updated as of Aug 10 2017 11:47 AM

MANILA - (UPDATED) The House of Representatives on Wednesday received a draft federal constitution as part of a proposal to convene a constituent assembly to amend the 1987 Constitution.

Constitutional amendments have been a key proposal of the Duterte administration and its allies.

Resolution of Both Houses Number 08 was filed by Representatives Aurelio Dong Gonzales Jr. and ABS Party List Rep. Eugene Michael De Vera on August 2, 2016.

It calls for a constituent assembly to consider their working draft of a federal constitution.

Among the salient differences of the draft constitution for a “Federal Republic of the Philippines” from the current Constitution are:

- Sovereignty over the territorial sea as well as rights, jurisdiction, and duties over the contiguous zone and the exclusive economic zone shall be exercised subject to the UN Convention on the law of the sea. It also mandates that all other territories over which the Philippines has claimed sovereignty or jurisdiction shall become part of the national territory.

- The following regions will exercise state powers: NCR, Ilocos, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, Bicol, Western Visayas, Negros Island, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao, Soccksargen, Caraga, and Bangsamoro.

- The creation of a Federal Congress with a Senate and House of Representatives. Each region will have 2 to 6 senators depending on their population size, who shall serve for a 6-year term. The House will still have one representative per district, aside from party list representatives who will account for 20% of the membership.

- The federal Congress will have jurisdiction over national security and defense, declaration of war, foreign relations, foreign trade through regions may have trade relations with other countries upon prior notice to the President; Customs and quarantine, federal currency, taxation, monetary system, immigration, emigration and extradition, inter regional commerce and trade, federal public works and infrastructure, federal postal ad telecommunication, federal air, sea and land transportation, intellectual property and copyright, meteorology and standards of weights and measures, grants in aid to regions, federal census and statistics, federal loans, federal penal system, cloning, genetic research and engineering, settlement of territorial and other disputes among states, and offenses defined in the Revised Penal Code.

- The offices of President and Vice-President, a Federal Supreme Court, regional Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan; the Commissions on Civil Service, Audit, elections and human rights, and Ombudsman.

- The offices of regional governor and vice governor serving 6-year terms; a regional legislature which can pass laws on matters not exclusive to the Federal Congress. the regional governments shall be entitled to 80% of the revenues and taxes collected by LGUS or the agencies of the federal government in accordance with the local government code. of the share of the regions, 30% shall accrue to the region while 70% shall accrue to the provinces, cities, municipalities, and barangays.

- The federal Congress will be empowered to relax existing restrictions on foreign investments by mere legislation.

The 83-page document will be deliberated by congressional panels in preparation for a bigger deliberation later this year.

Congressional leaders are hoping to convene the assembly to approve amendments next year.