Malacañang asks Filipinos to comment on draft constitution

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang will consolidate public feedback on the draft federal charter created by the Consultative Committee (Con-Com) before submitting the document to Congress.

This was announced by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Thursday, August 23, during a Palace news briefing.

"The President will consider the comments of the people and can improve the draft accordingly before officially transmitting it to Congress," he said.

This was after the Office of the Executive Secretary said it would formally accept feedback from the public on the Con-Com's draft.

"We have received guidance from the Office of the Executive Secretary that in line wth our ongoing discourse on federalism, the government is preparing to receive feedback on the draft submitted by the Consultative Committee to review the 1987 Constitution," said Roque.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman, however, made sure to say that Malacañang considers the Con-Com's output to be "a very good draft" but that they want to consider "comments of all stakeholders."

The Palace is also open to "improving the draft federal charter."

Roque admitted that it was the concerns of Cabinet members that prompted Duterte to create a formal channel in Malacañang for accepting public inputs.

"They can send their feedback either to the Office of the Spokesperson or the Presidential Communications Operations Office or the Office of the President. It can be by writing, by email, they can even come personally," said Roque.

Despite these new instructions, Roque gave assurances that Duterte remains "fully satisfied" with the Con-Com document and that he is still "fully committed to federalism."

In recent weeks, two members of Duterte's economic team, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, voiced their concerns about the Con-Com-created charter.

Dominguez said he found the draft "confusing" and that he would not vote in favor of it if a plebiscite was held soon. Pernia said federalism could "wreak havoc" on the country's economy if adequate preparations were not made. 

These remarks did not sit well with Con-Com member and San Beda College of Law dean Father Ranhilio Aquino. He even asked Duterte to fire Dominguez and Pernia and said this was an indication that the President himself has less support for the shift to a federal system. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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