President Duterte reiterates need to change unitary type of gov’t; bats for con-com, con-ass for Charter change

(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday reiterated what he said was the need to change the unitary type of government, saying  there would be “no peace” in Mindanao if this was not done.

In his speech before the Philippine Development Forum: Sulong Pilipinas 2017 at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City, Duterte, however, thumbed down a constitutional convention (con-con) to make the needed amendments in the 1987 Constitution, or Charter Change (Cha-Cha), for this, saying it was too expensive.

He suggested instead that 24 “commissioners” be appointed to draft the new constitution, noting that this constitutional commission (con-com) could include the sitting justices.

He added “a few civilians,” around five, could also be included.

“Submit (the draft new Constitution) to the constitutional assembly (con-ass). We get rid of some offices diyan na di na kailangan..But that’s just my take,” he said.

In August last year, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he hoped that the Senate and House of Representatives would convene as the con-ass, where the draft new Constitution created by the con-com would be debated.

He had said he hoped the two houses of Congress would convene as such after the proposed national budget for 2017 was passed.

He noted that should Congress finalize the new Constitution by 2017, the government could begin its information campaign about the revised charter by 2018.

According to Duterte, if “we are not ready to go federal, let us begin with a regional structure and give it to the Muslims.”

“Bahala na sila,” he said.

“If you do not reconfigure the unitary type of government now, and if there is no change in Mindanao, there will be no peace until the end of time for the Filipino. Imperialistic practices both here and the Middle East created so many problems,” he noted.

The other mode of changing the Constitution apart  from the con-ass and the con-con is the so-called people’s initiative.