Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Cha-cha bill gets majority’s nod

December 04, 2018
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

THE Charter change proposal of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got the support of the majority members of the House of Representatives.

Passed on second reading was Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 through viva voce.

It is expected to be approved next week on third and final reading.

The proposed RBH 15 contains the shift to federal government, which is one of the campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Speaker Arroyo was present at yesterday’s deliberation in the plenary during which most of the proposed amendments raised by ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio were rejected by the author and majority members.

The RHB 15 was contained in the House committee report 881, which the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments submitted in the plenary without amendments.

According to the draft, 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, filed on September 19, 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 shall 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 4-year terms and their re-election is unlimited.

It prohibits Congress from increasing budget appropriations recommended by the President except for the Senate, House of Representatives, and the judicial department.

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.

Meanwhile, members of the Supreme Court and judges of the lower courts will be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial Appointments and Disciplinary Council, which will be created in lieu of the Judicial and Bar Council.

Members of the Supreme Court will serve for a term of 10 years or until they reach the age of 70.

Under federalism, the federal states may be created upon petition of any contiguous, compact and adjacent provinces, highly-urbanized and component cities, and cities and municipalities in metropolitan areas.

Local governments and federal states will have the power to create their own sources of revenue and impose taxes, fees and charges.

On the other hand, the national government will provide local governments with their just share in national taxes as determined by law.

All branches of the government will continue to function in a transitory capacity until all successors are elected.

The first election under the proposed charter will be held on the second Monday of May 2022.

Extension of terms for the incumbents like Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo is not prohibited in the draft Constitution.

And since Duterte will serve for six-year term, he is not allowed to run in the 2022 presidential elections.