How House of Representatives’ draft federal charter differs from Consultative Committee version

December 5, 2018 - 6:40 PM
House of Representatives
The House of Representatives approved the second reading of the draft federal charter penned by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. ( Varcas)

The draft federal charter of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is being questioned over some of its provisions such as term extension of legislators and indefinite number of federal states.

The House of Representatives passed Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 or RBH 15, the proposal to transition to a federal form of government.

Arroyo’s draft veered away from the key provisions proposed by the Consultative Committee of President Rodrigo Duterte formed to draft a federal constitution.

Arroyo said that the charter change is the last part in the president’s agenda.

“It’s the last of President Duterte’s SONA (State of the Nation) agenda. Everything else has already passed. So I guess we’ll be concentrating on that next week. Of course, we know that there will still be many steps (before Cha-cha can be finished),” she said.

Several critics, pointed out that provisions in RBH 15 do not have the welfare of the Filipinos in mind.

Columnist JC Punongbayan denounced the removal of the prohibitions of political dynasties and term limits of lawmakers.

Punongbayan said that it’s now a make or break for the new senators whom the Filipinos will vote in the 2019 midterm elections.

“Senado na lang ang hadlang para maipasa ang federal constitution na gusto ni Gloria Arroyo. Kaya sa #PHVote2019 napakahalagang iboto natin sa Senado ang mga tao na hindi kakampi kay Gloria o magiging tuta ni Duterte. Otherwise, consider federalism a done deal,” he said.

Sarah Elago, Kabataan Partylist representative, enumerated on Facebook the policies she deemed questionable.

She said that Arroyo’s draft leaves out the section for human rights, contains attacks on labor rights and allows foreign ownership of educational institutions, mass media and advertising.

“Kabataan will release its full critique the soonest once we get the final copy for voting on Third Reading. Oppose the passage of a pro-imperialist, pro-oligarch, self-serving, anti-people Cha-cha!” Elago said.

JUST IN: House of Representatives passes on second reading Resolution of Both Houses No. 15, RBH proposing the revision…

Posted by Sarah Elago on Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The voting process during the second reading was done through viva voce or voice voting. With the voice voting, the number of votes was not recorded.

Key changes 

The government structure that Arroyo initially endorsed to the plenary will be a presidential-bicameral-federal system.

The president and the vice president will be elected in tandem and Congress will have two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The two-term limit for senators and the three-term limit for district and party-list representatives were removed.

The anti-dynasty provision from the Con-Com’s draft have been removed.

The parameters on foreign investors’ part in governing private entities, companies or groups were also deleted.

In terms of federal states, the specific number of states to be created is not stated compared to the Con-Com’s proposal of having 18 federated regions.

The vice president has been restored in the line of succession after the chief executive. The previous RBH 15 states that the senate president will take the place of the president should he be unable to perform his duties.

The year to adopt the federal system of government is still the same, in 2022.