PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has completed the list of 25 experts to be named to a Constitutional Commission (Con-Com), which will serve as the advisory body to Congress in drafting a new Charter for a federal government, a Palace official said on Friday.
Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella however said the nominees have yet to accept the offer to be part of the body.
“The President has a proposed list which the nominees yet have to accept, which will then launch the anticipated process towards meaningful, inclusive and peaceful national transformation,” Abella said.
“As of this moment there is still no officially approved list of names for the 25-member committee,” the Palace official added.
Duterte said he preferred the appointment of 24 commissioners similar to what the late president Corazon Aquino did when the 1987 Constitution was drafted.
“A constitutional convention will be costly. Do not tell me that the composition of that constitutional body would be wiser, would be more honest, and would not be protecting any vested interest,” Duterte told a business forum in Mandaluyong in August.
“I suggest that we appoint 24 commissioners. If you want, we can put there all the retired justices, a few civilians, maybe five, just like what Cory did. We could get rid of some offices that you no longer need. But that is my take,” he added.
In December 2016, Duterte signed an executive order forming a 25-member consultative commission tasked to review the 1987 Constitution.
The President had said the country needed to “reconfigure” the country’s unitary form of government so that the Bangsamoro in Mindanao would have its own homeland.
“If you do not reconfigure the unitary type of government now, which is the one we are using, and if there is no change in Mindanao, there will be no peace, until the end of time for the Filipino,” Duterte had said.
Duterte, whose election promises include federalism, said during his 2016 presidential campaign that the shift from a presidential form of government could be an alternative to the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), which seeks to put up a more autonomous Bangsamoro region.
The Bangsamoro Transition Commission has turned over the new draft of the BBL to the President, who in turn endorsed the bill to the Senate and the lower House.
The passage of the BBL, a centerpiece legislation during the Aquino administration and a result of the peace talks between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), was derailed during the 16th Congress after MILF fighters figured in the botched Mamasapano operation that killed 44 Special Action Force troops in January 2015.