Con-Com chair says House draft charter a 'disaster to democracy'


Posted at Dec 13 2018 09:43 AM | Updated as of Dec 13 2018 10:10 AM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's Consultative Committee warned the public about the "deficiencies" of a proposed federal charter drafted and approved by the House of Representatives.

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, chair of the committee, said the House's draft charter, which he believes was "haphazardly" approved, offers a bogus federal form of government.

"We agreed not to endorse this House resolution and to inform the public about its defects and deficiencies. This version is a disaster to our democracy," he told ANC Thursday.

"They did not create a federal government. They did not create districts. It's a bogus federalism... Congress will have a monopoly of power in creating these states," he added.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed on third and final reading its version of a draft federal charter that removes the ban on political dynasties and lifts term limits for lawmakers.

The lawmakers' draft charter also adds "lawless violence" as a ground for the declaration of martial law, apart from actual rebellion and public safety.

The draft also requires college degree for those who will run for president, vice president, senator or congressman, unless they have been elected to those positions under the 1987 Constitution.

Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 also seeks to develop a 2-party system where the state will subsidize the political parties.

"The process followed by the house in proposing the change in our constitution is defective. They were treating the constitution as if it is a piece of ordinary legislation," Puno said.


Puno also pointed out how the House draft failed to mention the Bangsamoro and Cordillera regions, which for him is the proposed charter's "one fatal omission."

The former top magistrate added that problems of identity and peace and order in Mindanao were among the main reasons why Duterte pushed for federalism in the first place.

"There is a fatal omission on the part of the House version. There is no mention of the Bangsamoro problem. There is not mention of the Cordillera problem," Puno said.

"Unless we are able to satisfy these identity-based demands, we'll always be hounded by this peace and order problem. The worst-case scenario is they may even separate from us," he warned.

Puno maintains that federalism is needed to address a lot of the country's problems, but noted the committee will not endorse the House draft.

The former chief justice headed the Consultative Committee that finished what's supposed to be the President's draft federal charter last July.

The Consultative Committee draft charter proposes 18 federated states with powers to impose taxes and generate their own revenues. It also makes the ban on dynasties mandatory.

Federalism was a key campaign promise of President Duterte who hopes to bring development to the regions and areas away from what he calls "Imperial Manila."