By Arjay L. Balinbin

THE Consultative Committee (ConCom) to Review the 1987 Constitution said on Tuesday it has “tentatively agreed to retain a bicameral legislature” for the presidential-federal system of government it had earlier adopted.

Up for “further deliberation,” however, are such matters as “the composition, manner of election of members, powers, and their relation to each other.”

“So we agreed on a bicameral congress, but it is not yet final as the en banc will still have to vote on it,” former associate justice Antonio Eduardo B. Nachura said in a statement by the ConCom. Mr. Nachura chairs the subcommittee on the structure of the federal government.

As for “the distribution of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal(-presidential) government,” former Senate president Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. said in the statement: “We are now putting the details — the powers for each of the three branches….(W)hat will the powers of the president be, Congress, the judiciary?”


The members also agreed on provisions requiring that the president and vice-president be elected as a team from the same political party.

Also discussed were the requirements for the candidate for president and vice-president, particularly as to whether a college degree should be required.

The current Constitution only requires that the president be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least 40 years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding such election.

Mr. Pimentel and ConCom member Eddie Mapag Alih held the view that a minimum level of education should be required of elective officials, including members of Congress and the president and vice-president, just as those holding appointive posts or employees of the government are required to have academic degrees.

Former representative Roan Libarios, for his part, noted that some of the known leaders and accomplished individuals in the political and business fields are school dropouts — including some Filipinos who had become members of the Senate and the Cabinet.

Former chief justice Reynato S. Puno, ConCom chairman, asked the members to be guided by relevant data in deciding on academic requirements, citing statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority showing that of the country’s total household population, only 10% have finished college.