SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez says he has submitted for President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval his proposed Executive Order creating a 25-man Constitutional Commission to propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
He made the disclosure in a keynote speech before the members of the Philippine Constitution Association during their meeting at the Manila Golf and Country Club on Tuesday night.
“This [Tuesday] afternoon I forwarded the draft of the Executive Order to the Office of the President creating the Constitutional Commission,” Alvarez said.
Philconsa president Martin Romualdez has thrown his support to the Constituent Assembly as the mode to be pursued by Congress in amending the 1987 Constitution.
“Philconsa is united behind the efforts of the President and the Speaker to revise the Constitution,” said Romualdez, a former representative of Leyte.
“The submission to the Palace of the draft Constitutional Commission is good news to further strengthen our development programs for the fair distribution of the benefits of economic growth.”
Alvarez said he was optimistic Duterte would be able to sign the EO on the Constitutional Commission within the month and to appoint its members within the same period.
“So by October the Constitutional Commission will start their work to draft the revised Charter and perhaps in six-month’s time we can already convene both Houses of Congress into a Constituent Assembly.” Alvarez said.
He said if Congress, acting as a constituent assembly, could complete the final revised Constitution by next year, the task of educating and informing the people on the revised draft could be done by 2018 in preparation for its submission for ratification synchronized with the mid-term elections in 2019.
“The remaining three years of the Duterte administration”•if it [the new Constitution] will be approved by the people”•will be a transitory government,” Alvarez said.
“So by 2022 we will be electing our new officials under the new Charter.”
Alvarez said amending the Constitution through Congress acting as a Constituent Assembly was the chosen mode to save money and to expedite the process.
He said the Constitutional Commission, composed of experts in their respective fields like former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno and Justice Manuel Lazaro, would provide the technical assistance to the Constituent Assembly.