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House panel defers voting on Cha-cha
“We had no time to finish everything. But we’ll take it up again maybe two weeks from now because we will have a holiday next week on Feb. 25,” said committee chair Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.
Facebook/Rufus B. Rodriguez

House panel defers voting on Cha-cha

Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - February 20, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House committee on constitutional amendments reset yesterday’s voting on possible changes to the 1987 Constitution after the Department of the Interior and Local Government asked for more time to discuss some issues. 

“We had no time to finish everything. But we’ll take it up again maybe two weeks from now because we will have a holiday next week on Feb. 25,” said committee chair Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez. 

Rodriguez said the panel members have discussed so far the national territory, political turncoatism and political dynasties, but that the Regional Development Authority and internal revenue allotments of local government units have yet to be taken up. 

“We’re still on page 10 of page 18. But we will be pushing through,” Rodriguez said.

He was referring to the recommendations that will be made by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Constitutional Reform on what reforms they will submit to the House plenary. 

Rodriguez said his committee is treating the task force’s recommendations as the administration’s Charter change proposals because it was President Duterte who created the group.   

The IATF is headed by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and its vice chairman is Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

The IATF conducted nationwide consultations before submitting its recommendations to the Rodriguez committee. Rodriguez said many of the group’s proposals jibe with the Cha-cha suggestions contained in his committee’s initial report. 

He said the common recommendations include electing senators by region, fixing a five-year term of office for local officials and House members and lifting foreign ownership restrictions.             

“In the case of the regional election of the Senate, the task force is proposing the creation of 17 regions with two senators each for a total of 34, while in our initial report, we recommended nine regions with three senators each for a total of 27. But at least, there is consensus on the election of senators by region. In the present Senate, there is no representation from Muslim Mindanao,” he said.        

As for the term of office, Rodriguez added that the Año panel is recommending five years with one reelection, while his committee is for two reelections.           

1987 CONSTITUTION RUFUS RODRIGUEZ
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