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Palace to wait for final version of federalism

Malacañang on Tuesday said it is too early to make a final judgment on the House of Representatives’ draft federal charter even after the Palace-backed committee already regarded the House draft as “disaster to democracy.”

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said it would be better to wait for the final revision of the draft approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives before making any conclusions.

“As I said, it’s still premature to make a final judgment on the draft of Congress because there is no draft to speak of at this time. It’s still premature,” Panelo told ANC.

“It is premature in the sense that the senators are not yet participating... It’s still a draft,” added Panelo, believing that Congress will soon listen to the sentiments of the people.

Meanwhile, former Chief justice Reynato Puno, chairman of the Consultative Committee, said that the committee members agreed not to endorse the House resolution, calling it a disaster to the country’s democracy.

He said members of the House of Representatives have created a “bogus federalism” as lawmakers changed a number of provisions including the removal of ban on political dynasties, lifting of term limits for lawmakers, and adding “lawless violence” as a ground for the declaration of martial law apart from actual rebellion and public safety.

These omissions raised the eyebrows of the Puno-led Consultative Committee members as they agreed not to endorse the House version, vowing to inform the public about its “defects and deficiencies.”

The Palace official already warned the Congress that the public might end up rejecting the House of Representatives’ draft charter, saying that scenario would be a waste of people’s money.

Asked about President Rodrigo Duterte’s take on these two drafts, the Palace official said Duterte would want the people to decide.

“Perhaps what is the better procedure is if you have two drafts, then let the people decide,” Panelo said. “There is no prohibition on that. Why not? It can be done, if they so desire.”

The President has been promoting the shift to a federal form of government to address the country’s economic issues, power unevenness, and armed conflicts in Mindanao, among others.

Topics: House of Representatives , Senate , federalism
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