MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang asked the House of Representatives to be more "open" to concerns from sectors about its draft constitution, saying ignoring them might lead to a rejection of the proposed charter.
One such voice that has been critical of the House's draft, approved on Tuesday, December 11, is former chief justice and Consultative Committee (Con-Com) chairperson Reynato Puno.
"Congress should listen to former chief justice Reynato Puno and open themselves for amendments. They should reconsider. Otherwise, there might be the danger of people rejecting the proposed amendments to the Constitution and that will be a waste of people's money," Panelo said in a Palace news briefing on Friday, December 14.
Puno previously said he would reject any proposed constitution that lacks a regulation of political dynasties, citing it as a critical component of political reform.
The House draft lacks such a regulation which the Con-Com had proudly featured in its draft. (READ: DOCUMENT: Final version of Consultative Committee draft constitution)
Many have also pointed out that the House's draft constitution does not automatically create a federal system of government but requires areas that want to become a federal state to file a petition before Congress. Congress will also still need to draft an organic law that will define the government structure of federal states.
This is different from the Con-Com's draft which creates 18 federated regions and already lays down the structure of their governments.
Panelo, however, admitted he has not yet read the House's draft constitution.
He gave assurances that Duterte will not support any draft charter that goes "against the interest of the people."
"Should Congress introduce amendments to the Constitution when they meet as a constitutional commission and it is against the interest of the people, he will campaign against the ratification of that proposed draft of the constitution," said Panelo.
The Con-Com submitted its draft federal charter to Congress in July. Duterte, however, has yet to endorse the document. Last August, Malacañang asked for public feedback on the draft before submitting it to the legislative branch. – Rappler.com
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 email@example.com.