Duterte picks another Boholano

President Rodrigo Duterte is set to pick another Boholano to do a crucial job under his administration.

Former OIC Gov. Victor de la Serna who was a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention will be one of the 25 legal luminaries who will compose the committee that will draft the proposed new Constitution of the Philippines.

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This will be the concrete step in preparing a shift to the federal form of government. 

De la Serna who is a bar topnotcher was one of the professors of Pres. Duterte when the latter was taking up his law studies at San Beda College in Manila.

The target is that before the end of Pres. Duterte’s third year in office, the law on the constitutional change would already be passed.

Cabinet Sec. Leoncio Evasco Jr. announced yesterday that in a few days, based on the timetable set by the President, the 25 members of the committee which is actually the commission that will be tasked to draft the new Constitution will be announced.

Evasco was the speaker during yesterday’s 4th Congress cum Seminar for Barangay Secretaries at the Bohol Cultural Center in Tagbilaran City.

He assured that Dela Serna can well deliver the task being a Bar topnotcher and a member of the first constitutional assembly way back in 1971.

The 25 people who will be working with the President on the Constitutional change were chosen by retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, according to Evasco.

The Constitutional change includes the change of the form of government to federalism, he added.

Evasco further explained that after the commission finishes drafting the proposed new Constitution of the Philippines, a Constitutional Assembly will then be called.

The President’s idea is that the Senate and the House of Representatives, as the Constitutional Assembly, will review the draft made by the 25 people.

Congress will finish it and passé the Constitutional Change law before the end Duterte’s third year in presidency.

He said the administration opted to avoid the Constitutional delegates to draft the new Constitution because it would entail an expenditure of multi-million pesos.

Evasco said he had been going around the country with then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte since 2014, explaining the necessity of shifting to federalism to achieve genuine progress, prosperity and inclusive growth.

The composition of provinces would surely be affected by then, but he assured that the barangays will remain the basic unit of the political system.

He said all the past Presidents might have failed in delivering genuine development and in uplifting the lives of the poor, not because they lack political will or inefficient, but because they are limited by the unitary form of government to undertake in full what they could offer.

Even Duterte can fail of the unitary form of government continues, and the people will not be accorded genuine change.

Meanwhile, Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu filed Resolution of Both Houses No. 5 on June 30 last year, proposing Congress to call for a Constitutional Convention to propose revision or reform of the 1987 Constitution in order to establish a federal system of government.

Abu cited that under Article XVII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, there are three ways of amending or revising the Constitution which are through Congress upon three-fourths vote of all its members with Congress acting as Constituent Assembly; a constitutional convention; and people’s initiative.

Article XVII provides that “any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by: (1) the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members; or  (2) A constitutional convention”.

It is provided also that any amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution through these modes “shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days after the approval of such amendment or revision.

Constitutional amendments can also “be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years thereafter,” as provided in Article XVII.

Through this mode, any amendment “shall be valid when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be held not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days after the certification by the Commission on Elections of the sufficiency of the petition”.

The provisions in the Constitution further state that “Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its Members, call a constitutional convention, or by a majority vote of all its Members, submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention.

BOHOLANOS IN DUTERTE’S ADMIN

Atty. de la Serna will be the latest Boholano to be added in the administration of Duterte.

Other Boholanos whom he picked to help him in his administration were former Maribojoc Mayor Leoncio Evasco, Jr. who is the current cabinet secretary, Dr. Ernesto Pernia, secretary general of the National Economic Development Authority and movie actor Cesar Montano, COO of the Phil Tourism Promotions Board. 



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