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Duterte set to sign EO on constitutional commission

President Duterte is inclined to approve the creation of a constitutional commission that will help Congress in amending the 1987 Constitution.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the President is expected to sign the draft executive order on the constitutional commission this month so it can start its work immediately.

“Regarding the Constitutional Commission, it is hoped that the President will be signing this on, by, in the month of September so that they can begin to study, to begin to study the provisions of the revision, for the revision,” Abella said during a Palace news conference.

Last Tuesday, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez submitted to the Palace the draft EO forming the constitutional commission that will provide technical assistance to Congress acting as constituent assembly. Alvarez said he hopes the President will sign the EO soon and appoint the members of the con-com.

Members of the commission are expected to submit recommended Charter revisions, including the shift to a federal form of government, to the constituent assembly comprising the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Under a proposed timeline, Alvarez said the new Constitution will be up for ratification by the public by the 2019 midterm elections. Once the new Charter is ratified, officials of the federal form of government would be elected during the 2022 poll.

President Duterte earlier asked Congress to hasten the approval of the federal-parliamentary form of government to destroy the “power vortex” dominated by the rich and the influential few in the country.

The President said changing the unitary form of government would weaken the control of the small group of influential people, including “monster” oligarchs, and promote equal distribution of wealth and opportunities across the country.

He has already endorsed constituent assembly over constitutional convention as the mode to introduce Charter amendments due to lesser cost.