MANILA - House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Wednesday denied claims that the chamber's version of a draft federal charter is being railroaded.
The former president and incumbent Pampanga Rep. said the House's proposed federal charter went through debates and was voted upon accordingly.
"It's part of the democratic process. There was a debate. It was voted on, we send it to them. That’s part of the democratic process," she told reporters in an ambush interview.
The House has approved on 2nd reading the draft federal charter, which removes the term limits for lawmakers and also the prohibition on political dynasties.
No definite number of states were included in this draft as it proposes that federated states will only be created upon the petition of a region, province, or city.
"Because it passed on 2nd reading, after three days, after the copy is circulated, we should be taking it up on 3rd reading. Hopefully that will be Monday," Arroyo said.
The Gabriela Women’s Party earlier expressed fears that "something sinister must be really afoot" as the draft charter was passed in the 2nd reading despite lack of support from the public.
"We condemn this stubborn insistence of the House leadership to ram Cha-cha into our throats despite the obvious lack of public support," the party said in a statement.
Federalism is one of President Rodrigo Duterte's key campaign promises. His Consultative Committee on Charter Change has already submitted a separate draft.
The Senate, however, has yet to pass a version of its own.
Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, chair of the constitutional amendments panel, earlier said if the Senate refuses to act on their proposed federal charter, they may bring the matter to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is currently headed by new Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin who was appointed by Duterte after Teresita Leonardo de Castro retired.