House draft federal charter 'worse than 1935 Constitution': ConCom spokesman

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2018 12:19 PM

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MANILA - The draft federal constitution being deliberated at the House of Representatives would be "worse than the 1935 Constitution" because it did not include provisions for term limits and against dynasties, the spokesperson for President Rodrigo Duterte's consultative committee said Monday.

The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments has endorsed to the chamber's plenary a draft constitution filed by Speaker Gloria Arroyo and other lawmakers, separate from the Duterte-backed panel's proposal.

One of the differences between the versions is the omission of the line "and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law" from the provision that "[t[he State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service."

"You remove the anti-dynasty provision, you remove the term limits, this could be worse than the 1935 Constitution," said Ding Generoso, spokesperson of the committee.

Out of millions of families in the Philippines, he said only 295 control the political fate of the nation.

Before the 1973 Constitution, he said one member of the family could serve as member of Congress for up to 30 years and some as mayors for 27 years.

"Now, we are in a worse situation: not only one member, but we have 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 members of a family occupying multiple positions. Then you remove term limits, no anti-dynasty provision, what’s going to happen to the country after this?" he told ANC's Early Edition.

Asked if he thinks the deletion of the provisions against political dynasties and term limits was self-serving to the House lawmakers, Generoso said: "We can put it that way."

"This is what many people have doubted with regard to any move to revise or amend the Constitution—when you trust it to Congress, they have not made any anti-dynasty law in 30 years, what can they come up with?"

"This will be very hard to sell to the public, this kind of Constitution. But if we stand by the ConCom draft, we believe that the ConCom draft is more acceptable to the public than this draft," he added.

The shift to a federal government is a centerpiece measure being advocated by the Duterte government. The consultative committee, which Generoso is a member of, submitted its proposal to the President, who in turn endorsed it to Congress.