ConCom considering SC ‘advice’ on bills in proposed charter

MANILA A provision that allows the Supreme Court (SC) to give its opinion on bills to ensure their constitutionality before being passed into law is being considered by the Consultative Committee (Concom) to review the 1987 Constitution.

Former chief justice Reynato Puno, ConCom chairman, said on Tuesday the proposal was raised by some members during deliberations on the structure of the federal government and the distribution of powers to among the three branches.

There is the suggestion that the Supreme Court be given the power of preview over certain legislative proposals that may have to hurdle constitutional constraints, Puno said in a press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Puno explained that in some countries, the Supreme Court, at the request of the legislature, can "provide its opinion" in advance on a pending bill the constitutionality of which may be questioned.

"This is called the power of preview, as opposed to the power of review," Puno said.

Under this kind of power structure, the Congress, Supreme Court, and the Executive do not work at odds but in cooperation so the legislative process becomes more efficient.

So instead of a law being struck down for being unconstitutional, whatever constitutional infirmities are addressed before the bill is passed.

Time, money and effort are not wasted.

Puno said this is among the concerns that are being taken up by the ConCom in its desire to achieve a working balance of power between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches.

A model of the power of preview is that of the French Council of State, which may be consulted by the parliament before it passes a bill or by the executive before it implements a law.

The Concom has yet to decide whether to adopt the system of preview or stick to the current setup where the Supreme Court can only intervene once a case is brought before it.

Concom Senior Technical Assistant and spokesperson Ding Generoso said the body is targeting to complete the initial draft of the new Constitution by April 30.

The draft will then be presented in public consultations nationwide.

The Concom expects to have the final version ready for submission to President Rodrigo R. Duterte by July 19, before he delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Source: Philippine News Agency

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