House approves draft federal charter on 3rd reading


Posted at Dec 11 2018 04:56 PM | Updated as of Dec 11 2018 05:44 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - The House of Representatives, which claims to be working as a constituent assembly, has approved on third and final reading its draft federal charter.

The final vote came down to 224 voting for the bill, 22 objections and 3 abstentions.

The total vote for the measure represents more than three-fourths of the full membership of the House of Representatives. The House has taken the position under Speaker Gloria Arroyo that House members and senators vote separately in a constituent assembly.

If the draft charter is sent to a plebiscite, the 1987 Constitution requires that this be done no earlier than 60 days and no later than 90 days after the approval of such amendment or revision. A simple majority of votes cast will make the new constitution binding.

Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 15 has the following key provisions:

  •  It requires a two-thirds vote of all members of Congress, voting separately to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution.
  •  It mandates that the form and structure of the government shall be that of a presidential-bicameral-federal system. 
  •  Members of Congress and local officials will have 4 year terms and there is no limit to the number of times they can be reelected. Only the President and the Vice President will be limited to a 4-year term with one reelection. The two officials will be elected as a team.
  •  The ban on political dynasties is removed.
  •  Lawless violence shall be a ground for the declaration of martial law when public safety requires it. 
  •  The House Speaker, not the Senate President, shall be the ex-officio chairperson of the Commission on Appointments. Members of Congress maybe removed from office through recall as maybe provided by law.
  •  The President, Vice-President, senators and House members are required to be college graduates before they can be elected, unless they have been elected to those positions under the previous constitution.
  •  Elected officials are prohibited from changing their political affiliation, while candidates are barred from changing their political affiliation within six months before or after an election.
  •  The Ombudsman, its Deputies and members of Constitutional Commissions shall be subject to confirmation by the Commission on Appointments.
  •  Each local government and federal state shall have the power to create its own sources of revenue and to levy taxes, fees, and charges subject to such guidelines and limitations as Congress may provide. Such taxes, fees, and charges shall accrue to the concerned local governments or autonomous territories. 
  • The national government, in turn, shall provide local governments their just share in the national taxes as determined by law, which shall be automatically released to them.
  •  The charter expresses state policy to develop a 2-party system where the state shall subsidize the political parties. Religious denominations and sects shall be denied registration with the Commission on Elections.

The first election under the proposed Constitution shall be held on the second Monday of May 2022. The terms of the incumbent President and Vice President shall not be extended and will end on June 30, 2022. The incumbent president is prohibited from running in the 2022 elections.