Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez formally received the draft federal constitution prepared by the 22-member Consultative Committee (ConCom) on Charter Change.
ConCom chairman and former Chief Justice Reynato Puno handed over a copy of the 91-page draft charter titled “Bayanihan Federalism: Power to the People, Power to the Regions” at the Speaker’s office. Other members of the expert panel and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas were also present.
In a press conference following the meeting, Alvarez said the lower chamber will start studying the ConCom’s draft charter.
Fariñas, however, stressed that the ConCom’s proposal is only “recommendatory” in nature and it is still the Congress that has the power to propose amendments to the Constitution.
“They’re only advisory. And I hope that it would make that very clear to the public,” Fariñas said.
“It’s only the Congress that can propose amendments to the Constitution. Precisely, they (ConCom) are called the advisory commission,” he added.
Fariñas said while the draft charter prepared by President Rodrigo Duterte’s consultative committee carries weight, it is not binding.
“Coming from the President, it carries weight. But Congress is not bound by that. Pag-aaralan din ng Congress yun (Congress would still study it),” he said.
Fariñas said the draft charter prepared by the House committee on constitutional amendments would also be considered alongside the ConCom’s proposal.
“They will be both considered as instruments and proposals,” he said.
The draft federal constitution proposed by the ConCom has a total of 22 articles compared to the 1987 Constitution’s 18 articles.
Under the said proposal, there are 18 federated regions composed of 16 symmetrical regions -- existing regions plus Negrosanon Federated Region and two asymmetrical regions -- Bangsamoro and Cordillera. (PNA)