THE Consultative Committee to Review the Constitution (ConCom) has unanimously approved the proposed changes in the Legislative and Executive branches under a federal government.
Under the proposed Legislative branch, at least two senators should represent a federated region and their term of office will be four years instead of six.
As for the Executive branch, the president and vice-president will have a term each of four years instead of six and both of them should come from the same political party.
The elected president should hold a college degree or equivalent, as opposed to the broader requirement in the 1987 Constitution that an aspirant for this office should be able to read and write.
“Kailangan naman daw hindi basta able to read and write (It shouldn’t be just someone able to read and write.” Retired Justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura said in a press briefing Wednesday. “When you are elected to a very responsible position in government, specially if you are tasked to make laws, kung congressman ka, senador, then dapat naman meron kang college degree (if you are a congressman, senator, then you should have a college degree). At least proof na nag-aral ka(proof that you are educated) and you know what you’re talking about when you’re sponsoring a measure in Congress.”
ConCom also considered changes in the current party-list system. “The problem with the party-list system is that we’ve seen the proliferation of the party-list organizations that do not actually represent the sectors that they are supposed to represent as envisioned by the Constitution,” Senior Technical and Media Officer Conrado I. Generoso for his part said.
Another feature in the proposed legislative system is on the direct exercise of legislative power by the people, with citizens able to propose, amend and repeal a law, as long as they file a petition with the Commission on Elections and garner 10% of voters’ signatures.
ConCom also widened the basis for declaring martial law to include, besides rebellion or invasion, lawless violence — the controversial basis for President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s declaration to that effect following the September 2016 Davao market bombing.
Mr. Generoso defined two categories for lawless violence: “Terrorism, like the one happening in Mindanao for example,” and “extremism, like violent extremism or religious extremism.”
The committee also proposed limiting the authority of the Commission on Appointments to exclude newly promoted colonels and navy captains. — Gillian M. Cortez