President Rodrigo Duterte now wants incumbent lawmakers to amend the Philippine 1987 Constitution and shift the government to federal system through a Constituent Assembly.
According to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the President revealed his preference to change the government system for a Constituent Assembly over a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) during a National Security Council meeting in Malacanan Palace.
During a forum of Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Speaker Alvarez said President Duterte and Congress leadership agreed to undergo Constituent Assembly to revised the incumbent Constitution, for which the chief executive believe it will be “cheaper and faster” way.
The process of Constituent Assembly is one of the three ways to amend the Constitution, the other two are Constitutional Convention and People’s Initiative.
The Con-Ass requires the Congress to turn into a body that will change the Constitution upon a vote of ¾ of all its members.
The amendments in a Constituent Assembly are finalized once a majority voice of registered voters will be count int a plebiscite supervised by the Commission on Elections.
Speaker Alvarez even filed his first-ever bill in 17th Congress, a House joint resolution calling for Constitutional Convention.
Duterte has changed his mind because according to Speaker Alvarez, a Con-Con would cost about 6 to 7 billion pesos.
Duterte administration wants to ratify the Constitution in 2019 midterm elections.
Under the federal system, the country will divided into autonomous regions or states and the national government will take care the national bearing issue such as foreign policy and national security.
According to the plan of Duterte administration, the country would be divided into 11 or 12 states.
Meanwhile, Speaker Alvarez also said the Duterte government would serve as a transition administration to a federal system in 2019 to 2022.