GMA-led House pushes for Charter amendments

WITH only a few months left for the 17th Congress, some members of the House of Representatives led by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are pushing amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

The Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 was contained in the House committee report 881, which the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments submitted in the plenary without amendments.

Principally authored by Arroyo and co-authored by at least 21 solons, the measure intends to propose federal form of government.

The resolution states that both Houses of Congress are mandated to propose amendments to, or revision of, the Constitution, in order to make the fundamental law of the land responsive to the needs and exigencies of the times.

According to the draft, the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution “already served, if not outlived, their purpose,” therefore there is already justification for amendments and revisions.

“Hence, the sustained clamor over the years for amendments to or revision of the Constitution finds jurisdiction in the need to provide, among other much needed socio-economic and political reforms, a long-term solution to the decades-old conflict in Mindanao and regional economic development in the countryside,” the resolution added.

Arroyo’s proposal, filed on September 19, is different from the draft Constitution drafted and submitted by the 22-member Consultative Committee formed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Under that draft constitution, the president and vice president should belong to one party and will be elected together. They will serve a 4-year term and can qualify for reelection.

Members of the legislative department (Senate and House) will have 4-year terms and no term limit.

It prohibits Congress from increasing budget appropriations recommended by the President except for the Senate, House of Representatives, and the judicial department.