MANILA, Aug 2 (Mabuhay) – House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday said he hopes President Rodrigo Duterte can issue an executive order (EO) as early as this month for the creation of a Constitutional Commission (Con-Com).
Alvarez said the Con-Com would help the Constituent assembly (Con-Ass) of the bicameral congress in changing the constitution in favor of a federal form of government.
He revealed he is eyeing the likes of retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno; former Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Reuben Canoy; Fr. Joaquin Bernas, dean emeritus of Ateneo Law School; Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law; and former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel II as members of the commission.
“Marami pa pong iba na pwede nating i-consider for appointment kay Presidente dun sa Constitutional Commission, who will be directed to study and do the draft for the revised constitution while Congress is still busy preparing and deliberating for the 2017 budget,” he said.
He said, if Duterte is able to issue the EO within this month, the Con-Com’s work can commence by September and be done with a draft by the first quarter of next year.
Their draft will then be submitted to the Congress convened as a Con-Ass for further deliberation and debate, according to Alvarez, then an information drive before the plebiscite.
“After that, we will now educate the people—magkakaroon ng massive information drive, including yung media, lahat, all-inclusive [para] pag-usapan dun sa mga tao,” he said.
“Then, after the massive information drive, by mid-term elections [in 2019], isama mo na yung plebiscite dyan,” he said.
He said the creation of this commission should allay fears that lawmakers are not competent to frame the new Constitution and appease critics who claim Congress will not be able to focus on legislative work.
He added, opting for a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) does not guarantee that the delegates will be competent and will not be influenced by external pressure groups.
“Para sa akin, kung takot man lang tayo dun sa competence issue, we might as well form a Constitutional Commission and the president will elect [choose] people na talagang competent. Kilala naman nating yang lahat,” he said.
“Will the delegates to be elected in the convention also be guided by common good if they will be elected, financed by businessmen also yung elections nila? Let’s face it: all elections, you need money to win,” he said.
Meanwhile, rather than be discouraged by the 44% of the Filipino population opposing any sort of charter change at the moment, Alvarez maintained, he is encouraged by the 37% who support it.
“Konting kampanya lang ito, pwedeng ma-hit yung 80%, 90%..it’s only a question of explaining to the people, especially in the regions, maybe not [much] sa Metro Manila,” he said. (MNS)