Duterte receives copy of charter banning political dynasties, monopolies
In this July 3, 2018 photo, former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr. (right) shares a light moment with retired Supreme Court associate justice Antonio Nachura and ex-chief justice Reynato Puno after signing the draft charter for the proposed federal system of government at the PICC.

Duterte receives copy of charter banning political dynasties, monopolies

Audrey Morallo (Philstar.com) - July 9, 2018 - 6:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte's consultative committee said on Monday that their proposed federal government constitution would establish a federal government strong enough to hold the country's "socially, politically and economically sustainable" regions.

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the chairman of the panel, issued the statement as he handed Duterte a copy of the proposed charter during a ceremony at the presidential palace on Monday afternoon.

Puno assured the president that the 144-day work of the 22-member committee was done with independence and was free from bias and elite interests and stressed the charter's "distinct bayanihan federalism."

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said over the weekend that the submission was a significant step in realizing Duterte's goal of a shift to federalism.

Duterte is expected to endorse the draft to Congress during his third State of the Nation Address on July 23.

Puno said that one prominent feature of the proposed federal chapter was its democratization of the country's political process by banning dynasties which the former chief justice said were monopolizing polls.

He said that the charter would transform political parties into "mechanisms for citizen participation and democratic governance."

"Political turncoatism is prohibited. Hence, political butterflies will not flutter anymore from one political party to another," Puno said during his speech at the ceremony.

The draft constitution also strengthens government institutions fighting corruption, he said.

Puno explained that the constitution would transform the Office of the Ombudsman into a "commission" that would investigate and prosecute more effectively violations of the country's Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices law.

It will also make the poor's rights to food, healthcare, education, housing and livelihood, and employment opportunities among demandable rights under its Bill of Rights.

The poor's political representation in the legislatures of the local federal governments will also be guaranteed, according to Puno.

The draft charter also establishes a "permanent and indissoluble" nation which recognizes the ethnicity, culture, religion, customs, traditions, language and distinct identities of people in the Cordillera and Bangsamoro regions.

The Senate and the House are currently deliberating their respective versions of the Bangsamoro Basic Law which will give Muslims in Mindanao self-rule.

The proposed constitution will also bar monopolies and oligopolies which substantially lessen market competition, Puno said.

It will also establish an independent Competition Commission to stop these monopolies, he said.

The draft constitution will still be subjected to review by the president, and Puno has already assured the chief executive that they are at Duterte's disposal if needed.

The panel finished its work last week and immediately worries surfaced after a member said that Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo could seek fresh terms under the new proposed charter.

This prompted Julio Teehankee to clarify the statement he made on "The Chiefs" on One News, saying he just "misspoke."

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