Duterte now for constituent assembly to amend charter: Speaker | ABS-CBN News

Duterte now for constituent assembly to amend charter: Speaker

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is now in favor of allowing sitting legislators to amend the Constitution as he eyes a shift to a federal-parliamentary form of government by 2022, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Thursday. Duterte threw his support behind a constituent assembly during a meeting with Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Alvarez Wednesday night. “Wag ho kayong mag-alala. Under the leadership of President Duterte, your fears under ‘con-ass,’ wala po yun. We committed to do it for the country,” Alvarez told a forum of top businessmen in Makati City Thursday. Duterte had earlier rejected a constituent assembly, saying he did not want incumbent legislators to revise the constitution. But Alvarez said this mode would be “cheaper and faster,” noting that a constitution convention would cost up to P7 billion. Under the plan, Congress will draft a new constitution within a year, then launch a massive information campaign on the proposed changes, said Alvarez. The Speaker said the new constitution would be presented in a plebiscite in 2019, coinciding with the mid-term elections. By 2022, he said the new leaders would be elected under the new constitution.