By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House leadership expressed on Sunday its full support to President Duterte’s proposed shift to a federal form of government.
House Senior Deputy Majority Leader and 1-SAGIP party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta manifested the Lower Chamber’s unwavering support to the Chief Executive’s federalism initiative.
“The House of Representatives fully supports President Duterte’s crusade to set out federalism in the country through constitutional processes,” he said in a statement after Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari issued a warning that if federalism will not prosper, war is expected.
Marcoleta said the House of Representatives did its part in approving Resolution of Both Houses 15 (RBH 15) which amends the 1987 Constitution to effect President Duterte’s federalism proposal.
In December last year, the Lower Chamber approved on third and final reading RBH 15, voting 224-22.
“We have done our part, under the leadership of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to deliver the draft new Charter to the Senate last year. We shall pursue this process given the people’s mandate, expressed in the last elections, for Charter change,” Marcoleta said.
Arroyo earlier noted that President Duterte’s proposed federal charter is a legislative priority. However, she admitted that federal shift would not materialize during her term as Speaker.
RBH 15, principally authored by Arroyo, calls for a presidential-bicameral-federal system of government and removal of the term limits for lawmakers.
RBH 15 proposes the adoption of a bicameral Legislature wherein the House shall be composed of no more than 300 Members and the Senate shall be composed of 24 Senators.
The Congress may not increase the appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the Government, except the appropriations for the Congress and the Judicial Department.
RBH 15 mandates that the President and Vice President maintain the same powers and functions as that of the 1987 Constitution. It provides that a vote for the President shall also be a vote for the Vice President and the President and Vice President must be from the same party. Their term of service under the draft constitution is also limited to four years with one chance for re-election.