HOUSE Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he is amenable to a proposal to require legislators to at least secure a college degree.
The proposal was made by the sub-committee on structure and federal government of the Consultative Committee (ConCom), which is reviewing the 1987 Constitution.
"Sang-ayon ako diyan, kasi dito sa legislative branch ng gobyerno siguro kinakailanagan din naman talaga na merong tayong educational requirement para maging legislator ka," he said at a press conference at the House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 20.
The ConCom sub-committee voted on Monday, March 19, to include this provision in the revised Constitution.
The mother committee will determine whether to approve or not the proposal once it resumes sessions after the Lenten break.
Alvarez said the government should also require civil service eligibility for lawmakers.
"Ang proposal ko nga diyan kung nire-require natin ng civil service eligibility ang mga staff namin para maging kawani ng gobyerno ba't kami bilang legsilators hindi i-require ng civil service eligibility," he said.
(If we require our staff to be civil service eligible, why shouldn't we, legislators, be required the same?)
Asked on the disadvantages if lawmakers are not college graduates, he cited as example his political rival Davao del Norte 2nd Distict Rep. Antonio Floirendo.
"Kagaya halimbawa ni Congressman Floirendo -- walang eligibility so hindi nagpa-participate dito sa mga committee hearings, hindi nagpa-participate dun sa mga debate sa plenary. Ganun lang yung concrete example ko diyan," he said.
"Ay talagang 'di pupwede dahil kailangang maintindihan yung ginagawa mo tsaka dedepensa mo yan sa committee, sa plenary, e kung menus naman yung capability mo," he added.
(The legislator has to understand what he is doing and be able to defend his proposals at the committee level and in the plenary. You cannot do this if you do not have the capability.)
Alvarezrefused to answer reporters when asked about the case of Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, also an undergraduate.
Under the 1987 Constitution, a candidate is qualified to run for a Senate seat if he is a natural-born citizen, at least 35 years old, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years.
For the Lower House, candidates must be a natural-born citizen, at least 25 years old, able to read and write, a registered voter in the district in which he shall be elected, and a resident thereof for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding the day of the election.
The resolution has been referred to the House committee on rules for further action. (SunStar Philippines)