DOCUMENT: Final version of Consultative Committee draft constitution

The final draft incorporates changes President Rodrigo Duterte asked for: that he be prohibited from running for president in the 2022 elections, and the election of a Transition President

Pia Ranada

5:19:35am July 17, 2018

6:26:42am August 14, 2018

CHA-CHA STEPS. President Rodrigo Duterte receives the copy of the proposed Federal Constitution of the Philippines from former chief justice and Consultative Committee chairman Reynato Puno. Malacañang photo

CHA-CHA STEPS. President Rodrigo Duterte receives the copy of the proposed Federal Constitution of the Philippines from former chief justice and Consultative Committee chairman Reynato Puno. Malacañang photo

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Consultative Committee released the final version of its draft constitution on Tuesday, July 17.

The complete copy, found below in downloadable form, incorporates the changes President Rodrigo Duterte asked for during his meeting with the 22-member committee on July 9.

The major changes are the transitory provisions in Article 22 which now includes a section that explicitly prohibits the incumbent president, Duterte, from running in the May 2022 elections, the first regular elections under the new constitution if it is ratified.

It also calls for the election of a Transition President and Vice President, another change in the draft constitution that Duterte wanted.

Below the downloadable copy of the document, Rappler listed highlights to aid readers.

Here is the final draft constitution:

HIGHLIGHTS

Preamble

Mentions "permanent and indissoluble nation" as a safeguard against secession by a region.

Article I - National Territory

Has two sections, declares sovereign rights over Philippine Rise and sovereignty over territories belonging to the Philippines "by historic right or legal title," thus covering Sabah.

It also mentions international law and decisions by international tribunals, thus firming up the country's stance on the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Article II - Declaration of Principles and State Policies

The Philippines pursues a policy of "freedom from weapons of mass destruction," not just from nuclear weapons as provided in the 1987 Constitution.

There is no longer any mention that the Federal Republic "guarantees full respect for human rights," as in Section 11 of the current Constitution. The section that most corresponds to Section 11 states that the Federal Republic "values the dignity of every person and guarantees full respect for the person and the right of all citizens to participate in all government processes."

Recognizes that information communication technology plays a vital role in nation-building.

New phrase that says the Federal Republic "shall promote the autonomy of local government units in accord with federalism."

Article III - Bill of Rights

Under a new section of Civil and Political Rights is the right to privacy in which interference in correspondence and data is illegal. Unreasonable surveillance, not just unreasonable searches, will only be allowed if authorities obtain both a search warrant and surveillance warrant. Individuals can demand that government agencies delete illegally obtained information related to them.

"Lawless violence" is added to the grounds for suspending the writ of habeas corpus.

A new section on Social and Economic Rights states that every person has a right to adequate food; universal and comprehensive healthcare; complete, quality education; adequate and decent housing; and livelihood and employment opportunity.

A new section on Environmental and Ecological Rights states that every person has the right to a healthful environment, clean air, clean water, clean soil, and clean surroundings; to seek compensation for damage to the environment; and to seek "immediate relief" from courts through the writ of kalikasan and other protective writs.

Article IV - Citizenship

No changes

Article V - Suffrage and Political Rights

The Federal Republic is responsible for "strengthening of political parties as mechanisms of citizen representation and democratic governance."

Political parties are required to register with the Federal Commission on Elections and submit documents like constitution and by-laws, platform, list of national officials, and heads of local chapters.

States that political parties must ensure the democratic process of making decisions and selecting candidates for public office. There should be equal representation of women candidates in every election "as far as practicable."

Creates a Democracy Fund where citizens or groups and corporations can donate to, to be distributed to political parties and presidential candidates.

Article VI - People's Initiative, Plebiscite, and Referendum

This entirely new article allows citizens to file a petition to amend the Constitution or enact, amend, or reject a federal law with the Federal Commission on Elections.

Article VII - Legislative Department

Senators are elected per region, not nationwide. Regions elect two senators each.

Members of the House of Representatives will number 400. Of this, 60% are elected by electoral districts, while the remaining 40% will be elected nationwide through a system of proportional reprsentation.

Senators and representatives are required to hold a college degree or its equivalent.

Senators and representatives are to serve a term of 4 years with one reelection.

Article VIII - Executive Department

The president and vice president are elected as a team. The president must appoint the vice president to a Cabinet position.

Both serve a term of 4 years with one reelection.

Both must hold a college degree or its equivalent.

"Lawless violence" added as one of the grounds for a president to suspend the writ of habeas corpus or declare martial law.

The section on Senate concurrence on treaties and international agreements is still not clear on whether Senate concurrence is also necessary for pulling out of such agreements.

Article IX - Judicial Department

4 High Courts created – Federal Supreme Court, Federal Constitutional Court, Federal Administrative Court, and Federal Electoral Court.

Justices of these courts are to serve a term of 12 years or until the age of 70, whichever comes first.

The President, another court, and Congress' Commission on Appointments get to appoint an equal number of members to each court.

Article X - Constitutional Commissions

6 Constitutional Commissions: Federal Civil Service Commission, the Federal Commission on Elections, the Federal Commission on Audit, the Federal Commission on Human Rights, the Federal Ombudsman Commission, and the Federal Competition Commission.

The CHR is elevated to a constitutional commission with the responsibility to investigate human rights violations both by state and non-state actors.

Definition of a human rights violation as "any violation of the rights guaranteed by this Constitution and by international human rights covenants and treaties to which the Philippines is a party, perpetrated by the State or non-state actors."

Office of the Ombudsman now a constitutional commission composed of a Chief Ombudsman as Chairperson, and 4 Associate Ombudsmen representing Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and the Metropolitan Manila Region.

The Federal Competition Commission is to probe and decide on cases of violation of competition laws and review proposed mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other business combinations that could lessen competition.

Article XI - Federated Regions and the Federated Regions of Bangsamoro and the Cordilleras

There will be 18 federated regions – 16 federated regions (including the new Negrosanon region) and the federated regions of Bangsamoro and Cordillera.

Except for the last two, each region will have a Regional Assembly, half representing each province, highly urbanized city, and independent chartered city; and half representing political parties through proportional representation. Members must hold a college degree or its equivalent.

Regions will be led by a Regional Governor and Deputy Regional Governor elected as a team. They are to be elected by majority of the Regional Assembly from among its members. The deputy governor will serve as the assembly's presiding officer.

Each region will have a Regional Supreme Court; Regional Appellate Court; Regional Trial Courts in component provinces, cities, and municipalities; lower courts; and special courts.

Bangsamoro and Cordillera regions - The two are recognized as assymetrical regions due to their identity-based demands.

The signed "Bangsamoro Organic Act" is to be appended to the Federal Constitution.

The Federated Region of the Cordilleras will be composed of the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, the City of Baguio, and the component city of Tabuk. It shall be entitled to 75% share of all net revenues in the exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources in the region.

The constitution calls for an Organic Act for the Federated Region of the Cordilleras.

Article XII - Distribution of Powers of the Government

Exclusive powers of the Federated Government:

Defense, security of land, sea, and air territory

Foreign affairs

International trade

Customs and tariffs

Citizenship, immigration, and naturalization

National socioeconomic planning

Monetary policy and federal fiscal policy, banks, currency

Competition and competition regulation bodies

Inter-regional infrastructure and public utilities, including telecommunications and broadband networks

Postal service

Time regulation, standards of weights and measures

Promotion and protection of human rights

Basic education

Science and technology

Regulation and licensing of professions

Social security benefits

Federal crimes and justice system

Law and order

Civil, family, property, and commercial laws, except as may otherwise be provided for in the Constitution

Prosecution of graft and corruption cases

Intellectual property

Elections

Exclusive powers of the Federal Regional Governments:

Socioeconomic development planning

Creation of sources of revenue

Financial administration and management

Tourism, investment, and trade development

Infrastructure, public utilities, and public works

Economic zones

Land use and housing

Justice system

Local government units

Business permits and licenses

Municipal waters

Indigenous peoples' rights and welfare

Culture and language development

Sports development

Parks and recreation

Article XII - Fiscal Powers and Financial Administration

Taxes and fees to be collected by Federal Regions:

Real property tax

Estate tax

Donor's tax

Documentary stamp tax

Professional tax

Franchise tax

Environmental tax, pollution tax, and similar taxes

Road users' tax

Vehicle registration fees

Transport franchise fees

Local taxes and other taxes which may be granted by federal law

Federated Regions to be given at least 50% of all the collected taxes on income, excise, VAT, and customs duties; and 50% of all net revenues derived from the exploration, development, and utilization of all natural resources within their territory.

A 16-member Federal Intergovernmental Commission administers an Equalization Fund which will go to regions that need financial assistance. The fund will be 3% of the General Appropriations Act.

Article XIV - Accountability of Public Officers

The President, Vice President, members of the High Courts, and constitutional commissions may be removed by impeachment.

Congress will form a Joint Impeachment Committee upon its convening composed of the Senate President as presiding officer and 12 members from each chamber. Impeachment complaints are to be filed with this committee.

The indictment resolution and Articles of Impeachment are to be filed before the Federal Constitutional Court or the Federal Administrative Court, depending on the case. The courts will then rule on the matter.

Article XV - National Economy and Patrimony

Filipinos or corporations with 60% ownership and control of Filipinos can lease a maximum of 1,000 hectares of alienable lands of the public domain for a maximum of 25 years, renewable for another 25 years. Congress given power to change requirements for lease of alienable lands through law.

Exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources is a power shared by Federal Government and Federated Regions.

Ownership and control of mass media limited to Filipino citizens while corporations with 70% of voting capital with Filipinos can engage in the advertising industry. Congress given power to change the voting capital requirements by law.

Congress given power to change requirement that corporations engaged in public utilities must have at least 60% of its voting capitol stocks with Filipinos.

Educational institutions limited to Filipinos and corporations of which 60% of capital is owned by Filipinos. Congress also given power to change this by law.

Article XVI - Social Justice

States that no person shall be denied employment by reason of age, gender, political or religious belief, ethnicity, status, physical appearance or disability, and other conditions that amount to discrimination.

States explicitly that the Federal Republic must protect overseas Filipinos from "inhumane treatment by their employers."

Private sector to be given incentives for providing employment for disabled persons.

Article XIX - National Security and Public Order

This entirely new article defines the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its responsibilities, and measures to insulate it from partisan politics, which in the 1987 Constitution are to be found in the General Provisions.

States that the AFP must protect the republic's sovereignty and territory including its land, air, sea, space, and "cyberspace."

"Adequate remuneration and benefits" for AFP personnel is "a prime concern of the Federal Republic."

The tour of duty of the AFP Chief of Staff, Chief of the Philippine Federal Police, and the Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard, shall not be less than two years and not more than 3 years from the time of appointment, unless sooner removed by the President for loss of trust and confidence.

Creates a federal police force civilian in character and an armed and uniformed Philippine Coast Guard "responsible for maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, maritime safety, maritime environmental protection, maritime security," among other functions.

Recognizes a cyberattack as a threat to national security and orders the establishment of a "cyber security infrastructure" to protect the republic from "unauthorized domestic or foreign intrusion such as cyberattacks and cyber warfare on its public utilities, cyber installations, and private entities."

Article XX - General Provisions

Allows the President to "intervene" and "take all measures necessary" to address a region's failure to "comply with its obligation as provided for in the Constitution which seriously undermines the sovereignty, territorial integrity, economy, or the unity of the Federal Republic."

Article XXI - Amendments or Revision

Clearly states that, in the case of amending the Constitution via Constituent Assembly, the Senate and House of Representatives are to vote separately.

The proposed amendment will only be valid if there is a majority vote in all federated regions in a plebiscite.

No amendment of the Constitution is allowed within 5 years from its ratification. Same prohibition will be at work when it is amended again.

Article XXII - Transitory Provisions

Explicitly states that the terms of President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo will not be extended. They will end on June 30, 2022.

Explicitly states that the President Duterte can not run for President in the May 2022 elections.

Calls for elections of a Transition President and Transition Vice President 6 months after the constitution's ratification in a plebiscite. The two leaders are to be elected as a tandem.

Creates a Federal Transition Commission, to be headed by the Transition President. It will have 10 members plus the Transition Vice President, Senate President, House Speaker, and all living former presidents as ex-officio members. The 10 members are  to be appointed by the Transition President.

The Transition Commission formulates its own rules of procedure and creates a "transition plan" for the "orderly shift to the new system of government." To implement this plan, the commission can promulgate rules, regulations, orders, decrees, proclamations, and other issuances.

The Commission should ensure "people's participation" in the transition, referring to non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, indigenous peoples, and other civil society organizations.

All laws, proclamations executive orders, judicial issuances "not inconsistent with the Federal Constitution" remain valid until amended or repealed.

All officials of the government under the 1987 Constitution shall continue to hold their office and exercise their respective powers and duties unless removed by reason of reorganization in accordance with the transition plan..

– Rappler.com