Former chief justice Puno points out “fatal omission” on federal charter

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DAVAO CITY (December 14)-  The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed on third and final reading its version of a draft federal charter which adds “lawless violence” as a ground for the declaration of martial law.  It also lifts the term limits for lawmakers.

However, former Chief justice Reynato Puno said the process followed by the House in proposing the change in the constitution is defective as it treats the constitution as “a piece of ordinary legislation.”

Puno also said that while the problem on identity, peace and order were the primary reason for President Rodrigo Duterte’s push for federalism, there was a “fatal omission” on the part of the House version.

“There was no mention of the Bangsamoro problem nor of the Cordillera problem,” he added.  “Unless we are able to satisfy these identity-based demands, we’ll always be hounded by this peace and order problem. The worst-case scenario is they may even separate from us,” he warned.

Puno maintained that federalism could address a lot of the country’s problems, but noted that the Consultative Committee, which he head will not endorse the House draft.  Federalism was a key campaign promise of President Duterte.

The Consultative Committee draft charter proposes 18 federated states with powers to impose taxes and generate their own revenues. It also makes the ban on dynasties mandatory.-  Jiann Padillo/ NewsLine

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