CONGRESS should reconsider the Consultative Committee's (Con-Com) proposed federal charter, Malacañang said on Friday, December 14, as it cautioned against "unacceptable" amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
"I hope Congress should listen to former chief justice Reynato Puno and open themselves for amendments. They should reconsider," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press briefing.
"Otherwise, there might be a danger of people rejecting the proposed amendments to the Constitution. That would be a waste of people's money," he added.
Panelo's statement came after Puno, chair of Con-Com, warned Thursday, December 12, about the "deficiencies" of the proposed federal constitution drafted and approved by the House of Representatives.
Majority of congressmen on Wednesday, December 11, approved on third and final reading its version of a draft proposing revisions to the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for President Rodrigo Duterte's planned shift to a federal form of government.
Under the House version of a federal charter, the president and vice president will serve four-year terms, with one reelection.
The draft charter scraps the term limits for legislators and local officials, and removes the ban on political dynasties.
The House draft charter likewise leaves to Congress the power to create federal states by passing an enabling law upon petition by any interested region.
Puno believed that the federal constiution being proposed by the House of Representatives is a "disaster to democracy" and a "sham federalism."
Panelo said that while it was "premature" to judge Congress, the executive branch was optimistic that they would come up with a "best" draft of a federal constitution being pushed by the Duterte government.
"Hopefully the assumption is all of them will be working for the benefit of the people. After all, that is the very reason why they are there," he said.
"Let me just repeat what the President said in one of the Cabinet meetings: Should Congress introduce amendments to the Constitution when they meet as a constituent assembly and it is against the interests of the people, he will campaign against the ratification of that proposed draft of the Constitution," he added. (SunStar Philippines)