Aquino May Rule Without an Assembly : Philippines May Abolish Assembly

Associated Press

A draft of a new, interim Philippine constitution would abolish the National Assembly and vest all lawmaking powers in President Corazon Aquino in a democratic revolutionary government, it was disclosed today.

A Cabinet official gave the Associated Press and other reporters copies of the draft constitution today.

The official, who dealt with reporters on condition of anonymity, said Aquino wants to "soften some provisions" of the draft so she does not have to call her government "revolutionary."

The official said Aquino plans to announce the new constitution Monday. He did not say why he was releasing the draft today, and no government official would immediately authenticate the document.

The draft says, "This government is revolutionary in origin and nature, democratic in essence and transitory in character."

It would give Aquino the lawmaking powers of the National Assembly and would prohibit any court from questioning her authority or the validity of any law she decrees.

The draft constitution would provide for a commission that would write a new permanent constitution that would be put to a popular vote.

The Philippine News Agency quoted Solicitor General Sedfrey Ordonez as saying that Aquino had consulted with him on the draft constitution and that her final proclamation would not use the word "revolutionary," which is contained in the draft.

The draft constitution says civilian authority "shall at all times be supreme over the military" and retains a "bill of rights" included in the 1973 constitution currently in effect.

It says all civil, political and social rights under the old constitution will remain "inviolable" and that the new government will be bound by all treaties and obligations entered into by the previous government.

"The president shall have control and exercise general supervision and control over all local governments," the draft says.

The draft left blank a space for indicating the number of days Aquino would have to form the commission that would write a new, permanent constitution. It said the commission would include up to 100 members and once formed would have up to six months to write the new constitution.

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