Colmenares raises alarm over legislative powers for Duterte under federalism

Former Rep. Neri Colmenares

MANILA — Former Rep. Neri Colmenares, who is chairman of the Bayan Muna Party-list, expressed alarm on Sunday over the move to abolish Congress and grant President Rodrigo Duterte legislative powers under the proposed draft of the new Constitution for a federal system of government.

In a statement, Colmenares called the proposal a “constitutional power grab” that would be “as dangerous as the revolutionary government Pres. Duterte has been threatening.”

He zeroed in on Section 6 of the transitory provision of the Resolution of Both Houses No. 8, which is currently being considered by the House of Representatives.

The said provision states: “Upon ratification of this Constitution, the present Congress shall be dissolved and the incumbent President shall exercise legislative powers until the first Federal Congress is convened.”

“The current move to propose amendments to the Constitution has become a very dangerous ‘indecent proposal’ when it calls for the abolition of Congress and grant Pres. Rodrigo Duterte the power to issue laws and presidential decrees. [The provision] grants Pres. Duterte the power to exercise legislative powers, just like Marcos before,” he said.
Dictator Ferdinand Marcos exercised legislative powers through presidential decrees.

Colmenares also expressed alarm about the overhaul of the entire judiciary under Article VIII of the proposed Federal Constitution.

“Regional District Courts will replace all Regional Trial Courts under RBH 8. Of course, Pres. Duterte has the power to appoint or reappoint all justices and judges under Sec.9 of Article VIII. He will be a very powerful president,” he said.

“This is one of the most dangerous Cha-cha ever. We should oppose this as we will oppose the threatened revolutionary government,” he concluded.

In an earlier statement, issued on Friday, Colmenares condemned the proposal forcing the current officials of the Commission on Audit, the Civil Service Commission and the Commission on Elections to vacate their offices to allow Duterte to appoint replacements.