Incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez Incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

Alvarez aims for Cha-cha referendum with 2019 elections,simultaneous Con-con, barangay polls

MANILA, Philippines -- Incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez hopes to have the election for delegates to the Constitutional Convention together with the barangay polls and subject proposed amendments to the Charter to a referendum in time with the 2019 midterm elections.

Alvarez said Charter change will be among the priority measures of the Duterte administration the House of Representatives will tackle when the 17th Congress opens this month, with an eye to drafting a bill to hold elections for Con-con delegates simultaneously with the barangay polls scheduled in October.

If not feasible, Alvarez said he would propose the postponement of the barangay elections for a few months. He said holding the barangay and Con-con elections together would also save the government money.

“Maybe, we can have a few months of extension to prepare for the election of Con-con delegates, so we can save money,” he said in an interview over radio station dzMM.

Alvarez has filed House Concurrent Resolution No. 1 calling for a Constitutional Convention to propose revisions to the 1987 Constitution.

President Rodrigo Duterte wants the Charter amended to pave the way for a federal form of government.

Among the key provisions in Alvarez’ resolution:

The Constitutional Convention will be composed of elected and appointed delegates --one delegate per legislative district and 20 delegates to be appointed by the President.

No member of the House of Representatives or the Senate at the time of the adoption of the resolution may run as a candidate for or be appointed as delegate to the Con-con.

The Constitutional Convention will be deemed functus officio (an agency or office whose mandate has expired) upon approval of its proposals in a plebiscite called for such purpose, or after two years from its opening, whichever comes first.

The initial funds for the operation of the Con-con will be sourced from the 2016 budget.

He said Duterte prefers a unicameral legislature.

“If we will be under a federal system, there won’t be any need for too many laws, because each federal state will have its own laws. The parliament will concentrate on managing the affairs of the federal government,” he said.


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