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House priority measures bared

The House of Representatives under the leadership of incoming House Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez will prioritize the passage of a measure seeking to amend the Constitution to shift the nation to a federal form of government, revive the death penalty, and grant emergency powers to President Duterte to effectively address traffic woes in Metro Manila and other key urban areas.

Alvarez said the federalism and death penalty measures and the proposed traffic emergency powers will be the top priorities of the House of Representatives when the first regular session of the 17th Congress opens on July 25.

“We will tackle these measures once we resume session,” he said when asked if the House will prioritize the approval of the federalism and death penalty proposals and the proposed emergency powers.

Alvarez filed Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 which calls for the convening of a Constitutional Convention to allow a shift from the present presidential bicameral form of government to federal presidential bicameral system.

The incoming Speaker also confirmed that his second bill is the measure seeking to breathe life into death penalty.

“Yes, I co-authored the bill,” he said.

He said his measure sought to address the snowballing drug-related crimes in the country.

Alvarez and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, who will likely assume as the next Senate President in the 17th Congress, said they are eyeing to grant emergency powers to deal with the transportation crisis to Duterte in August.

The incoming congressional leaders reportedly discussed the parameters of the emergency powers for the Chief Executive that would include the suspension of bidding for transport-related projects.

Pimentel said he would push for “shorter” emergency powers for Duterte, fearing that the Philippines might suffer under a long-term emergency.

He also pressed on the need to review all contracts that may be disadvantageous to the government “with or without emergency powers.” (CHARISSA M. LUCI)