May 23, 2019 – The fifth Inter-Agency Task Force on the Transitory Provisions (IATF-TRP) meeting was held at the Development Academy of the Philippines, Pasig City.
The meeting aimed to address the recommendations of the IATF cluster with regard to certain provisions in the Bayanihan Constitution. Highlights of the meeting include the discussion on Section 9 of Article XXII Transitory Provisions. According to the DOJ representative, the Constitutional Committee (ConCom) may need to define the extent of the participation of the civil society organizations as stated in the provisions of the Bayanihan draft because leaving it unclear would result in the civil society organizations having high expectations when it comes to their participation.
Another issue raised in the discussion is on the role of the Civil Service Commission after the ratification of the new Constitution. The particular concern regarding this matter is the doubt of whether the Federal Transitory Committee (FTC) will abuse its abuse in the appointment of officials. It was thus clarified in the discussion that the Civil Service law will continue to exist and that the Civil Service Commission is recognized in the draft constitution. In other words, the original mechanism for the selection of appointments/appointees will be observed.
Perhaps the most challenging issue raised in the discussion is on how to deal with the newly elected senators once the new constitution is ratified. This point which was raised by ConCom member and LOGODEF Director Professor Edmund Tayao involves the very problematic process of trying to make the Bayanihan draft, which would effectively end their terms short once ratified, appealing to the new senators. At the time, the cluster was unable to find a concrete solution to this issue. Some raised the possibility of having the newly elected senators still functioning after the new constitution was ratified thru a ‘holdover’ capacity. It was later explained that a holdover capacity would still also prove problematic because in legal technicalities, a ‘holdover’ capacity would require an existing law outside of an enabling one to work. It was agreed upon that the cluster would prepare for more in-depth legal discussions regarding this matter.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the TRP cluster was reminded that the deadline for the submission of their reports will be before the end of June.
Meeting concluded at 1:00 a.m.