Draft order calls for Cha-cha study council


Proposed preparatory body to have 24 members, P30M budget

A DRAFT executive order (EO) proposes to allow President Rodrigo Duterte to appoint 24 members to a preparatory study council and spend P30 million to draft a new Philippine Constitution for submission to Congress.

The draft order, obtained by The Manila Times from an informal “federalism core group” working for Duterte, calls for a Constitutional Reform Consultative and Study Council that will conduct consultations and studies and propose revisions to the 1987 Constitution “principally to change the existing unitary-presidential system of government to a federal and semi-presidential system of government; as well as to review and refocus economic policies in the Constitution.”

Over a three-month period, the preparatory council will review existing and new constitutional reform studies and proposals and hold a nationwide information campaign and consultations with various sectors of society with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government units.

“There is a need to bring the great constitutional reform debate to the people and involve them in the study and formulation, including the appropriate and expeditious mode, of revising the 1987 Philippine Constitution,” the draft EO states.

The council will be composed of not more than 24 members appointed by the President among nominees submitted by any individual, association or organization to the Office of the President not later than August 31.

All nominations must be in writing and accompanied by the following supporting documents, namely: curriculum vitae of the nominee, a certification by the nominee that he or she will accept the appointment to the council, and other materials.

A presidential appointee to the council must be a Filipino citizen, a registered voter, and a resident of the country for at least one year on the day of his or her appointment.

In addition, a council member must be a man or woman of recognized standing, honesty, patriotism and probity, with experience and competence in government or in their respective fields.

Incumbent government officials or employees as well as candidates for elective positions who lost in the last elections may be appointed as members of the preparatory council.

Lawyer and federalism advocate Raul Lambino, one of the members of President Duterte’s informal core group on federalism, is convinced that changing the 29-year-old Constitution is worth all the effort.

“When you are going to change the Constitution in a Constituent Assembly, you will be opening up the entire Constitution. But I am not worried about that. What I am worried about is if we are not able to put the right people in drawing up our Constitution,”
Lambino said during a roundtable discussion with The Manila Times editors and reporters on Wednesday.

Lambino, who helped draft the EO, admitted that federalism would cost the government more money, but said the benefits would outweigh it.

“Since we have to work with Congress, we have to do something, through the council, to ensure that the provisions of the Constitution which will favor the power brokers and other vested interests will not be in place. Besides, I’d rather have a more expensive bureaucracy that is run efficiently rather than a small one which cannot deliver social services to our people,” Lambino added.

Under the proposed EO, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will preside over the initial meeting of the council until such time that it elects a chairman.

The election of a chairman, vice chairman, secretary and other officers from among its members will be the preparatory council’s first order of business.

Plenary sessions of the council will be public and recorded, and it can hold its session and public hearings anywhere in the country to ensure wide public participation.

The Presidential Management Staff, for its part, is mandated to assist in establishing a secretariat for the technical and support staff of the council and is authorized to ask for the detail of any personnel from any government office to assist the body.

The proposed timeframe is as follows: the council will start its work on September 15 and complete its task by December 15. The council will present the draft of the new Charter to the President for transmittal to Congress.

President Duterte initially wanted to call for a Constitutional Convention to amend the Charter, but has since changed his mind. Duterte now favors Charter change through Congress as a Constituent Assembly, to save billions of pesos.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Can anybody help on the information as to how the applicaon/documents be submitted to the Office of the President…
    – should it be submitted in personal? if so to whom specifically and wha is his contact information
    – can it be through email? If so, to whom and what is the email address?
    Thank you…

  2. May I please recommend the grand old statesman, former Senate President Nene Pimentel to chair such body. Having authored the Local Government Code, very patriotic Pimental has no rival. Let us allow him another of his momentous hurrah for his legalistic mettle. Thank you.

  3. Since sovereignty resides in the people and not on anyone else, it is the people, through their elected delegates who should amend the Constitution and not a selected group of people. There is no genuine clamor from the people for a federal system and/or parliamentary system of government. They said that Marcos was a dictator but Marcos did not do what they want to do now. Marcos obeyed the Constitution and respected the principle that sovereignty resides in the people. He just kept quiet and allowed the Congress to call for a Constitutional Convention with all its delegates elected (not appointed by Marcos) by the people from every legislative district of the country. Marcos did not even suggest that the 1971 Con-Con must only adopt the parliamentary-federal system or otherwise he will abolish the Con-Con and Congress. He was in fact against the federal-parliamentary system and believed in the Presidential system with the President having vast powers but with three co-equal branches of government. It was Macapagal’s Con-Con and the “activists” then that wanted the parliamentary system. And when the 1971 Con-Con came up with the unitary-parliamentary system, which Marcos did not like, Marcos accepted it and allowed it to be submitted to the Filipino people for ratification. Read our Constitution today and you will find out that sovereignty resides in the people and the executive is not allowed to propose any amendment whatsoever to our Constitution. It is either the people themselves, through their elected delegates in a Con-Con or through their elected representatives in Congress sitting as a Constituent Assembly, that is the only sovereign that is allowed by the 1987 Constitution to propose any and all amendments to the charter.