ELECTION Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said he will support moves to amend the 1987 Constitution, particularly the shift to a federal form of government, should he be appointed to the Supreme Court (SC).
At the public interview conducted by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) Thursday, Sarmiento said the Charter, which he helped draft was “not perfect and drafted by imperfect persons,” thus there is a need to improve it.
The shift to a federal type of government, he added, is necessary to address socio-economic and security issues that may not have been plugged in the present charter.
“It should be studied because in Spain and Russia, this is their formula to address insurgencies and rebellions. We have the longest-standing insurgencies in Asia. Insurgents and rebels have been around for around 50 years already.”
Other areas that Sarmiento said needed an overhaul were the separation of the administrative and judicial functions of Comelec, and stating specific provisions empowering the Commission on Human Rights to not just investigate but also prosecute cases filed before its office.
He believed that changes should be made through a constitutional convention, where the people will delegate members that will make the amendments.
The election official said he does not support a constituent assembly, albeit it is a less expensive option, since the issues involved could be easily manipulated by the selfish interests of lawmakers.
However, he expressed belief that any plans to amend the charter would have to wait until the Aquino government has finally settled down so that they could review proposed amendments to the Constitution.
Prior to Sarmiento’s government career, he was a human rights lawyer doing private practice for 25 years, with specialization in constitutional, criminal, civil and labor cases.
Sarmiento was appointed by then President Corazon Aquino as consultant to the presidential committee on Human Rights in 1987, and later on, he became a member of the Presidential Human Rights committee from 1991 to 1994.
He also became a member of the government’s negotiating panel and later, vice chairman in the 1996-2006 peace talks with the CPP-NPA-NDF, until his appointment to the Comelec. (JCV/Sunnex)