‘Cha-cha to start in 6 months’

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said yesterday lawmakers will start working on Charter change (Cha-cha) “within six months” to shift the nation to the federal system and relax the Constitution’s economic provisions.

He said he expects President Duterte to name the members of the consultative commission (con-com) on Cha-cha before the month is over.

He said the con-com could then immediately begin working on its recommendations, which Congress expects to receive in less than six months.

“After that, we in the House of Representatives and the Senate will convene as a constituent assembly to consider those recommendations,” he added.

Alvarez revealed a three-year timeline for Cha-cha and the proposed shift to the federal system.

He said the envisioned rewritten Constitution should be submitted to the people in a plebiscite that would be held alongside the midterm elections in May 2019.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

“And the officials of the federal system could be elected in 2022 (when President Duterte’s six-year term ends),” he said.

It is not yet clear what exactly is the type of federal government that would be installed.

One federal system advocate, Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, is proposing a mix of federal-presidential with a two-chamber parliament.

Another proponent, Rep. Maximo Rodriguez Jr. of Cagayan de Oro City, wants a federal-parliamentary type with a unicameral legislature.