The final and official draft of the Consultative Committee’s (ConCom) proposed Federal Constitution now bars President Rodrigo R. Duterte from running in the 2022 general elections.
ConCom spokesperson Ding Generoso released a copy of the final draft to the media on Tuesday, a week after Duterte, on July 9, approved the proposed Federal Constitution in toto except the transitory provisions which he wanted amended.
Generoso said all other copies in circulation, electronic or printed, official or not, are superseded by the final and official copy.
In the final draft’s Section 2 of Article XXII on Transitory Provisions, it states that “the incumbent President is prohibited from running as President in the 2022 elections under the Constitution.”
The ConCom also heeded Duterte’s request to hold an election for a Transition President as he would rather cut his term in 2019 to give way to a “younger” leader, which would erase suspicions that he would stay beyond the end of his term in 2022.
Generoso clarified that this means that the incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo “may run if she wishes to, but not the incumbent President. “
The final draft allows the President to call for an election for the Transition President and Vice-President in tandem within six months from the ratification of the Constitution.
It may be recalled that in the first draft released last July 9, the ConCom assigned Duterte as chairman of the Federal Transition Commission (FTC). However, he wanted this changed.
In the final draft, the Transition President will also preside over the orderly transition to the Federal System of Government until June 30, 2022.
Moreover, the Transition President and Vice President will be ineligible to run for any public office in the May 2022 elections.
“The first section is just a reiteration that their term shall not be extended. Once a Transition President and Vice President are elected, by operation of sections 3 and 4, the incumbent President shall turn over the reins of government to the newly elected transition President,” Generoso said.
The ConCom has also updated the composition of the Federal Transition Commission (FTC), which is tasked to “formulate a transition plan for the orderly shift to the new system of government,” to have more members.
The FTC will assign the Transition President as Chairman and will have 10 regular members who must be natural-born citizens of the Philippines, at least 40 years of age, with proven competence, probity, integrity, and independence, and expertise in the fields of economics, law, fiscal management, governance, or development, and who shall be appointed by the Transition President.
Meanwhile, the Transition Vice President, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and all living past Presidents will be designated as ex-officio members.
Other powers of the FTC include to promulgate the necessary rules, regulations, orders, proclamations, and other issuances, do all acts to implement the same, and resolve all issues and disputes that may arise therefrom; to organize, reorganize, and fully establish the Federal Government and the governments of the Federated Regions until 2022, in accordance with the Constitution; and to exercise all powers necessary and proper to ensure a smooth, speedy, and successful transition.
The FTC shall complete its mandate and shall cease to exist by June 30, 2022.
Generoso said the ConCom has already submitted the updated Article XXII on Transitory Provisions to the Office of the President. However, the ConCom will also be sending a bound copy on Wednesday.
Start of real debates
The release of the final and official draft Federal Constitution came a day after a Pulse Asia survey showed that majority of Filipinos were against moves to change the 1987 Constitution.
The Pulse Asia June 2018 Survey on Charter Change and Federalism showed that 67 percent opposed charter change, with 37 percent opposed changing it now and in the future, while 30 percent said they may be open to it sometime in the future.
According to the poll, 18 percent of respondents supported it, while 14 percent were undecided.
However, Generoso said the survey result should have lumped together the 30 percent of respondents who may be open to Charter Change in the future and the 18 percent who supported it.
“In reality, 48 percent favor changing the Constitution,” Generoso said.
Generoso pointed out that surveys were “media-driven and time bound,” noting that public opinion and preference change depending on the issues reported in media.
“ConCom has just finished its draft and the information dissemination, consultation, and debate have just began,” Generoso said in a press statement.
“To say that proposals to change the Constitution should be stopped because not a majority are in favor of it now is wrong. The real test will be when the proposed Constitution is submitted for ratification in a plebiscite,” he added. (PNA)