Lawyer and 1987 Constitution framer Christian Monsod is calling on lawmakers to amend laws first instead of pushing for constitutional changes, such as a shift to a federal system of government.

In a PressOne.PH podcast episode, the former elections chief said the principles of the 1987 charter were “clear” and had stood the test of time, and changing it might result in more problems.

“You should first try legislation. Like in more autonomy in local government and shares in internal revenues. Why don’t we change or amend the Local Government Code first, and see if it works,” Monsod said.

Monsod said the principles of the 1987 Constitution, namely, (1) the emphasis on social justice, (2) safeguards against authoritarianism, and (3) economic independence, remained valid and relevant.

He said he disagreed with those pushing for more foreign ownership of utilities and other businesses, arguing that Filipinos should keep control of the economy.

“The heart of the [1987] Constitution is social justice and human rights. There’s never been a Philippine Constitution…where there is a separate article on social justice,” Monsod said.

Monsod challenged Congress to pass laws addressing specific problems like banning political dynasties.

He said putting specific clauses in the Constitution would make it obsolete once the country attained “political maturity.” 

The charter should allow Congress to “attune” laws to the “maturation of the political system.”

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has filed Resolution of Both Houses 2, which seeks to remove limits on foreign ownership of land and businesses.

In January, President Rodrigo Duterte was reported as calling for charter change to scrap the party-list system and ban communist rebels from running for office. Ian Gabriel Trinidad