House awaits Cha-cha inputs by consult body

The House of Representatives would await the inputs of the 19-member consultative body tasked to review the 1987 Constitution before proceeding to draft the new Charter, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Wednesday.

In a press conference, Alvarez said the lower chamber would consider the recommendations of the consultative committee, as he directed the House constitutional committee to not immediately terminate its hearings in order to discuss the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution of the consultative body.

“Kasi tuluy-tuloy pa rin yung committee hearings nila, at saka sabi ko huwag niyong i-terminate kaagad iyan dahil mayroon ding ginagawa yung consultative commission na in-appoint ng Presidente. Hintayin din natin yung input nila, para alam mo, covered natin iyan, at nako-consider natin lahat ng mga inputs,” Alvarez said.

Former senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., who is a member of the consultative committee, earlier said the proposal is expected to be submitted by President Rodrigo Duterte in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) this July.

Alvarez said his initial deadline in holding a plebiscite on Charter change along with the barangay elections in May 2018 might have to be pushed back until 2019.

“Timetable, kailangang bago mag-2019, tapos na iyan. I think mahaba na talaga iyan, conservative estimate na iyan,” Alvarez said.

Based on the proposals submitted by the House constitutional amendments committee, the territory of the future Federal Republic of the Philippines will be divided into five states composed of Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, Bangsamoro, and Metro Manila.

Under the proposal, each state shall have its own State Constitution, adopt its name, and choose a capital, flag, anthem, and seal.

The proposed federal charter retains the position of the President, who would act as head of state, and introduces the position of a Prime Minister, who would be the head of the government. (PNA)