Arroyo's draft federal constitution endorsed to House plenary

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 8) The House committee on constitutional amendments has endorsed to the plenary a draft constitution filed by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo which seeks to create a federal type of government.

In a report dated October 2, the panel approved and recommended the adoption of Arroyo's version of the draft federal constitution without amendments.

The proposed measure aims to retain a presidential form of government, but gives the Congress the power to create federal states.

If enacted, the Senate will be retained as a legislative body where members are elected at large. The administration's Consultative Committee's draft constitution, on the other hand, earlier proposed that senators be elected by region.

READ: ConCom's final draft Federal Constitution

Arroyo's bill also seeks to remove the term limits for members of both the Senate and House of Representatives. Each term lasts for four years.

The elected President and Vice President will also serve for four years, with their posts subject to one re-election.

Not her decision

But Arroyo on Monday clarified that it was not her decision to add the provision lifting term limits for lawmakers.

She noted that her only contribution to the measure was the directive for Congress to establish federal states.

"The only thing I added was a provision that instead of establishing the federal states, there's a mechanism to establish federal states," Arroyo told reporters.  "All the other provisions were already submitted by the Con Com (Consultative Committee) and everybody else."

The lifting of the term limit was apparently added by other lawmakers because Concom's draft provides that no Senator or House member can serve more than two terms of four years each.

With her version of the draft constitution now in the plenary, Arroyo said it is up to fellow solons whether or not they will retain the removal of term limits.

The shift to a federal form of government was among President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign promises, saying it would pave the way for more equitable distribution of wealth and political power and bring peace in Mindanao.

READ: ConCom OKs draft of proposed federal constitution

CNN Philippines Correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.