The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments will recall the Charter change (Cha-cha) resolution it approved in a closed-door session last December.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, the panel’s chairman said the committee will reopen discussions on proposals that seek to amend the 1987 Constitution to consider the proposal of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Federalism and Constitutional Reform.
“The committee report that we have approved, which you complained to be very secretive… that will be recalled because there is now a new entry of these proposals.”
“We believe that these are also good proposals to study,” he told reporters in a chance interview on the sidelines of the briefing of the task force on its proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
It was President Rodirgo Duterte who ordered the creation of the IATF — which main task is to disseminate to the public information on Cha-cha and to ensure that the Cha-cha initiatives by the government are effective, efficient and uniform.
According to Rodriguez, the task force is proposing the election of senators by region.
But instead of nine regions and three congressmen per region as proposed by Rodriguez’s panel, the task force proposes the election of senators in 17 regions, with two senators in each region.
“We are in agreement that there has to be election by region. Why? To develop our regions,” Rodriguez said.
While the committee-approved resolution on Cha-cha proposes a five year term with two reelections or a maximum of 15 years in office, the task force proposes a five year term with only one reelection or a maximum of 10 years in office.
The IATF supports the committee’s proposal for the President and Vice President tandem voting and the amendment to the economic provisions in the constitution that limit foreign investments, according to Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said the IATF also proposes amendment to the provision on the just share of the Local Government Units in the national taxes to ensure the just and fair share of the LGU in the computation of the internal revenue allotment.
Eliminate political butterflies
The IATF also seeks to reform the political party system in the country.
Specifically, its proposal bars members of a political party from shifting to other parties one year after the election, and one year before the next election.
The task force likewise seeks to prohibit all dynasties up to the second degree of consanguinity whether by relation is characterized as legitimate or illegitimate.
“The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties to prevent the concentration, consolidation or perpetuation of political power in persons related to one another,” stated the provision the IATF wants included under Article V of the Constitution.
The proposal also states that no person related to an incumbent elective official as a spouse can run for the same position in the immediately following election.
Open to media
Rodriguez whose panel drew flak for approving in an executive session Cha-cha vowed that the next discussions on the resolution will be open to the media.
Aside from hearings among lawmakers, he said members of Congress will also hold public hearings on Cha-cha.
“We are going to reopen so that we can hear the proposals by members of Congress and also go back to public hearings with the presence of media so that we will able to assure that this is not secretive, this will not be only exclusive to members but this will be open to everyone,” he said.
Rodriguez expressed hopes that the resolution that will be approved by the committee come March.