1987 Constitution is bicameral to ensure check and balance – lawyers remind PH Senate

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THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines 23rd Board of Governors reminded the Senate that the bicameral feature of the 1987 Constitution is meant to ensure check and balance.

The reminder was issued by the lawyer’s group following an official query by the Senate concerning the proposed changes to the 1987 Constitution.

“To us it is clear, however, that the intent behind bicameralism continues to be check and balance between the two houses, so designed for the enactment of better laws,” the IBP-BoG said.

The IBP-BoG, however, expressed its preference for a Constitutional Convention over a Constitutional Assembly should major revisions to the 1987 Constitution are to be made.

“Ours is a rigid Constitution, made so as a protection against firebrand changes – and major revisions designed to substantially alter the balance of power in government must be proposed by a more circumspect Constitutional Convention and not by an overweening Constituent Assembly,” the IBP-BoG noted in its statement.

Thus the IBP-BoG insists that the revision must be set forth by the two house of Congress voting separately, in keeping with the deliberative nature of our bilateral legislative body.

The Constitutional text providing for the process is ambiguous on account of the retention of the corresponding provision under the 1973 Constitution which was made suitable to a unicameral legislative body, the IBP-BoG said.

Last month, according to a Reuters report, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order creating a 25-member panel to propose specific amendments to the charter in a bid to setup a federal system of government for better governance.

The Duterte administration has been itching to establish a federal system of government to allegedly pave the way for peace and economic development.

But the task of changing the form of government is fraught with unforeseen dangers, a number of political observers and Human Rights Defenders claimed.

They said a federal form of government in the Philippines would only further entrench the existing political dynasties that has ruled over the country since colonial times.

A federal form of government would also fragment Filipino society as it would further encourage existing regionalism, they added.

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