FORMER President now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo denied allegations that the Charter change bill was railroaded.
In an ambush interview, Arroyo, the main proponent of the Resolution of Both Houses No. 15, said intensive debates were conducted both in the committee and in the plenary.
Arroyo said they intend to approve the RBH 15 on third and final reading by next week and immediately send it to the Senate.
“It’s part of the democratic process. There was a debate, it was voted on, we sent it to them. It’s part of the democratic process,” Arroyo said.
The proposed RBH 15 contains the shift to federal government, which is one of the campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Lawmakers believe that the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution “already served, if not outlived, their purpose,” therefore there is already justification for amendments and revisions.
The resolution states that both Houses of Congress, is mandated to propose amendments to, or revision of, the Constitution, in order to make the fundamental law of the land responsive to the needs and exigencies of the times.
Arroyo’s proposal is different from the draft Constitution submitted by the 22-member Consultative Committee formed by President Duterte.
Under the draft constitution, the president and vice president should belong to one party and will be elected together. They will serve a 4-year term and can be qualified for only re-election. There is also a provision of succession for the Vice President.
However, members of the legislative department (Senate and House) will have a 4-year term and can be re-elected unlimited.
The draft federal charter will also retain a bicameral legislative department where the House of Representatives will be composed of not more than 300 members, and the Senate composed of 24 senators.
A total of 80 percent of the House members will be composed of lawmakers from legislative districts, while 20 percent will be party-list lawmakers.