Duterte favors Con-Con

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Drilon, Pimentel differ on scope of amendments

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CONFLICTING views on how the 29-year-old Constitution should be amended have emerged in Congress as Malacañang on Monday bared that President Rodrigo Duterte preferred to do it through a Constitutional Convention, or Con-Con.

In a news conference, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said changing the Constitution will be among the priority items in the legislative agenda of the Duterte administration.

But the amendments, he added, should come from elected delegates, not from Congress, which can also amend the Charter by convening itself as a Constituent Assembly.

“As far as we know, President Duterte favors Con-Con [Constitutional Convention], not Con-Ass [Constituent Assembly]. It’s more consultative right? More representation,” Abella told reporters.

When asked if the President would certify proposed resolutions calling for a Con-Con as urgent, he said, “It’s definitely part of his priorities.”

Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, the President’s choice as the next Speaker, echoed Malacañang’s statement.

“The best mode of revising the 1987 Constitution is through a Constitutional Convention wherein the delegates who will propose revisions are regionally elected for that purpose.

This process will ensure that the people-at-large, from the very outset, will be a part of the changes that will be introduced for the fundamental structure of our society,” Alvarez said in a statement.

Under Alvarez’s proposal, the 1987 Constitution will be amended by a convention composed of regionally elected and appointed delegates.

The President will appoint 20 delegates with the same qualifications as the members of the House of Representatives.

Duterte is a staunch advocate of changing the current unitary and centralized form of government, and he said during the election campaign that nothing short of federalism would bring peace to Mindanao.

Drilon, Pimentel differ
At the Senate, Senate President Franklin Drilon, who had proposed Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 calling for an election of Con-Con delegates by May 2017, said there should be no restrictions on the provisions to be discussed in a convention.

But Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, who is expected to replace Drilon as Senate president at the opening of the 17th Congress, on Monday indicated that the convention could have certain parameters, telling Senate employees during flag-raising ceremonies that the chamber will not be abolished.

“Under [the]Federal-Presidential [system]espoused by my father former Senate president [Aquilino Pimentel Jr.],, there will still be a Philippine Senate, a much larger one. We will be hiring more employees … Each Regional State will also have its own legislative branch which can benefit from the expertise you have developed here in the Senate. You can choose to work therefore in your own region,” Pimentel explained.

“Hence … there is nothing to worry about,” he said.

But Drilon said there should be no limits to the Con-Con, which in principle is vested with “plenary powers” to review the entire Constitution, not only the form of government or even economic provisions barring foreign control of corporations and land.

“When you open the Constitution to amendments, you open up everything,” Drilon told reporters.

Through a Con-Con, he pointed out, voters would be able to elect delegates based on their positions on issues such as federalism or a parliamentary form of government.

Drilon proposes the convention to start work in September 2017 and submit the draft of the new Constitution by May 2020, or two years before Duterte leaves office. There should be a deadline or else the process might “take five years.”

Con-Con ‘appropriate’
An analyst told The Manila Times that the process of crafting the 1987 Constitution was itself far from ideal, as it was drafted by a commission whose members were all appointed by then-president Corazon Aquino.

“Ideally, we have to have a Con-Con because it is the appropriate process for democracy.

We never had a Constitution that was written by a freely elected body under a free
regime,” University of Santo Tomas political science professor Edmund Tayao said.

“We had a Con-Con in 1935 with elected delegates but we were under the Americans. We had another Con-Con in 1971 but the declaration of martial law rendered it inutile,” Tayao added.

Drilon said the timing was right to amend the Constitution, noting that the 1935 Constitution was amended after nearly three decades, in 1971.

“With the 1987 Constitution we are now at almost 30 years. Pwede na tayo mag-start [We can start] tomorrow, the time is appropriate,” he added.

WITH JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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3 Comments

  1. Danny Cascolan on

    ZExcerpt commentary,

    Lol factors in america or europe are not factors nor history of the Philippines, seeing apples same as oranges is dumb fallacious. No matter what the form of government does not become as same as economy wanted if factors necessary are stumped. Political institutions is half of the story of economic institutions and Philippines fail on both, but observably inverse to the political and economic success of the few elites. Even U.S. failed to follow federalism as sovereignty and rectracted to behave as one nation state during depression in 1930’s and Roosevelt had to regulate nationally to stabilize the situation which gave inclusive growth to the U.S. and it’s not because of federalism philosophy that U.S. economy grew at all. If in a unitary form a government cannot enforce or make amends ( post marcos sham leaders did not intend to really; Japan had violent wars in order to unify their country ) to better economy inclusively then what more in a federal form? Federal form for the Philippines as is obvious will be exarcebating the extractive aim and forces of neoliberalization which are even now bane to europe and americas, for the elite with everything fiat insidiously colonizes countries for the benefit of a growing nationless elite. Goodbye Greece, goodbye federal for of U.K. could be.Are you expecting those filipino dynasties syndicates who were not able to draw straight lines of integrity with clarity nor had the genius for industrialization and commercial innovation but had been content in perpetrating extractive economy of the Philippines since Aguinaldo plus now selling sovereignty insidiously to neoliberalization would be able to draw a lot more straighter lines? Did you ever consider the rebellion aim of malaysian supported milf in mindanao? The resources of the Philippines where it go and gone? And did you consider the capital to put up nations? Lol we don’t even have a Democracy to speak of now with automated cheat in the Comelec for years now, and here you are all blind to see authoritarianism that is being evolved. And here a Concon of the few is being concocted to steal your one nation-state.

    It is possible however for regions to have economic spikes ( while the resources are extracted by neoliberalism ) if the nations are at the same time converted into rogue states, that is producing all illegitimate goods and services for the world, managed by pirate elite but there will be no real rule of law but only arbitrary agreements at the whim of rulers. Would you rather have that kind of nation existence.

    NO TO CONCON MANIPULATION BY THE CORRUPT ELITES!
    – Danny Cascolan

  2. Rizalito David on

    We gave birth to it. The entire nation was happy to welcome it. But then we never allowed it to give further life to the people that it supposed to serve. Now we want to dispose of it and adopt another. While teat nations of the world hardly touched theirs, we never allowed our own to breathe. Damn our stupidity. Nay! Pity our foolishness.

  3. Jose dela Cruz on

    The Constitutional Convention should be the way to amend our Constitution with delegate from different regions elected. Aside from shifting to a federal form of government, this Con Con should pass the enabling laws to enforce the Anti Political Dynasty provision of the 1987 Constitution which Congress had ignored for so many years.