Palace con­fi­dent new char­ter will be passed

Manila Times - - News - CATHER­INE S. VALENTE

MALACAÑANG has re­mained

the 1987 Con­sti­tu­tion for a shift to a pres­i­den­tial-bi­cam­er­alfed­eral sys­tem would be passed within the term of Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte.

Palace spokesman Sal­vador Panelo made the state­ment over the week­end af­ter sen­a­tors from

- ity said they could not see any fu­ture for the draft fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion in the 17th Congress, which sits only until next July.

But Panelo, in an in­ter­view, in­sisted there was still much time left for the Se­nate to tackle Char­ter change and fed­er­al­ism be­fore Duterte steps down in 2022.

“Well, kung walanang­pag-asa ngay­ong De­cem­ber, ehnandiyan ses­sion, ehdi­may­roon­parin (Well, if there’s no hope for it to be tack­led this De­cem­ber, there’s the next ses­sion, so there’s still time),” Panelo said.

He added that the Palace was still con­fi­dent that the Se­nate was sup­port fed­er­al­ism af­ter the pro­posed 2019 na­tional bud­get is passed. Ma­haba­pana­man term (Duterte

Panelo said.

Duterte is cur­rently into the mid­dle of his six- year term, which be­gan on the af­ter­noon of June 30, 2016.

De­spite the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives rush­ing the pro­posed fed­eral Char­ter, Se­nate Pres­i­dent Vi­cente Sotto 3rd re­it­er­ated on Wed­nes­day that the Se­nate had no time for pas­sage of the pro­posed shift.

“We have no time to take that up. They should have rushed the bud­get, so that we could have taken that up,” Sotto said.

On De­cem­ber 4, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives ap­proved on sec­ond read­ing a draft bill authored by Speaker Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo re­vis­ing the 1987 Con­sti­tu­tion’s cur­rent form of gov­ern­ment into a pres­i­den­tial­bi­cam­eral-fed­eral sys­tem.

Un­der Ar­royo’s draft Char­ter, the Pres­i­dent elected in 2022 will have a term of four years and will be en­ti­tled to re­elec­tion only once

Op­po­si­tion members of the House de­cried the rush to pass the mea­sure through a res­o­lu­tion that was ap­proved through voice vot­ing.

But Ar­royo de­fended the res­o­lu­tion on Wed­nes­day, in­sist­ing that the pro­posal, which she authored along with sev­eral of her col­leagues, had un­der­gone de­lib­er­a­tion of the 292-mem­ber cham­ber.

“It’s part of the demo­cratic process. There was a de­bate, it was voted on and we sent it to [ House members],” she told re­porters.

Shift­ing to fed­er­al­ism from a uni­tary sys­tem is among the key cam­paign prom­ises of Duterte, who vowed dur­ing the cam­paign to spread re­sources and political power to the coun­try­side.

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