Panel sets work on federal shift

AS CONGRESS resumes its sessions today, the House committee on constitutional amendments begins its series of hearings on the draft federal constitution submitted by the consultative committee led by its chairman Reynato Puno.

Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, the panel chairman, said his committee will aim to start its first hearing on Wednesday.

“We will immediately begin the hearing, and I think this Wednesday if the schedule permits,” Mercado said. 

“That is the mandate of our committee—to study these recommendations.”

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez vowed to end the deliberation in six months.

“If the Con-Com could take up the deliberation in four months, of course, here in Congress I think we can finish this at the earliest within six months,” he said, Alvarez said.

But he said he would not rule out the possibility that the deliberations and approval of the proposal could take longer than six months.

He said there was still a need to educate the public on the government shift to federalism.

“It may take a little longer depending if we agree or we don’t agree on some issues,” Alvarez said.

“After this, we need a massive information drive to educate the people. We have to discuss what we have to take up in the plebiscite.”

Alvarez said Congress should decide on the possible postponement of the mid-term elections in 2019 before the filing of certificates of candidacy in October.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu has filed House Bill 5724 to push for a people’s initiative and a referendum for Charter change and legislation.

“This bill seeks to fill in the insufficiency of Republic Act 6735 and to come up with an enabling law,” Abu said. 

Topics: constitutional amendments , federal , Con-Com
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