THE leadership of the House of Representatives will pass the proposed shift to a parliamentary form of government as well as the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law before the yearend.
“We have to finish it before 2019. I think that is already a long time; that is already a conservative estimate,” Alvarez told a news conference Wednesday.
Alvarez said the House would have to wait for the proposed amendments to be submitted by the 25-man Consultative Commission even as lawmakers would have to study it together with the own proposed amendments crafted by the House committee on constitutional amendments.
“We will also wait for their [Consultative Commission] input so we will be able to cover all and consider all inputs,” said Alvarez.
President Rodrigo Duterte has appointed former Chief Justice Reynato Puno as head of the consultative committee that will review the 1987 Constitution.
The President also appointed 18 members of the 25-man committee, including former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., retired Supreme Court justices Antonio Eduardo Nachura and Bienvenido Reyes, and former Kalinga Rep. Laurence Wacnang.
Alvarez said Duterte would still lead the government during the transition period since his term would end in 2022.
“We cannot violate that contract, we cannot terminate that contract by amending the Constitution,” he said.
Rep. Luis Raymond Villafuerte of Camarines Sur, one of the proponents of federalism in the House, called for a national information campaign that will educate the public on the advantages and benefits of the federal system.
“The information campaign on federalism should start early this year so that the government would have enough time to educate the people about how this progressive form of government would be most beneficial for them, in terms of spreading the country’s economic gains to the countryside and raising rural incomes,” Villafuerte said.
This developed as Alvarez set his own timetable for the passage of the proposed BBL in March.
“The discussions on BBL continue. If I will have my way, I would have it approved before Congress goes on break in March to show that the House performs its legislative duty; and have it submitted to the slow chamber [Senate],” said Alvarez, one of the principal authors of the BBL at the Lower House.
Alvarez added the House was studying the feasibility of incorporating the BBL to the proposed Charter Change.
“We just have to see to it if the BBL structure will fit the federal setup,” Alvarez said.