By Camille A. Aguinaldo, December 5 2018; Business World


Image Credit to Business World

SENATE PRESIDENT Vicente C. Sotto III on Wednesday said his chamber could no longer tackle, due to time constraints, the draft federal charter that the House of Representatives approved on second reading on Tuesday.

“We don’t have time to take it up. If they had fast-tracked the budget, maybe we could’ve taken it up,” he told reporters.

The House of Representatives has formulated its own version of a draft federal charter through a resolution calling for charter change. It is expected to be passed on third reading on Monday.

The chamber’s proposed Constitution provides a “presidential-bicameral-federal system” of government. It gives power for Congress to establish a federal state through legislation.

Unlike the proposed charter of the Duterte-appointed Consultative Commission (ConCom), the House version does not contain provisions banning political dynasties and limiting congressional terms.

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, House Speaker Gloria M. Arroyo said the draft federal charter underwent democratic processes, in response to accusations that the chamber railroaded the measure.

“It’s part of the democratic process. There was a debate. It was voted on, we send it to them. That’s part of the democratic process,” she said.

Under the 1987 Constitution, any amendment or revision to the Charter may be proposed through three methods: by convening Congress into a constituent assembly, by electing delegates in a constitutional convention, or by forming a people’s initiative.

Senator Francis N. Pangilinan, who heads the committee that the House’s charter change resolution may be referred to once it is transmitted to the Senate, said in a statement on Wednesday, “If within the administration, they cannot agree on what should be amended in the Constitution, why should it be forced to the public? It will be better if we let the next Congress tackle Charter Change.”