Con-Com recommends college degree or equivalent requirement for Senatorial aspirants under federal PH

The Consultative Committee is pushing for additional academic credentials for senatorial bets under the proposed federal constitution. Senatoriables must have at least a college degree or its equivalent.

The Consultative Committee (Con-Com) has agreed, on the subcommittee level, to require "a college degree or its equivalent" under its proposed federal constitution to be submitted to President Duterte before his State of the Nation Address this July. Con-Com Senior Technical Assistant Conrado Generoso explained during the media briefing on March 20 that the equivalency provision can be traced back to Executive Order No. 330 issued during the Ramos Administration, which authorizes the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to certify “pertinent work experiences and knowledge or expertise acquired by individuals from high-level, non-formal and informal training toward the awarding of an appropriate academic degree”, among other stipulated in Sec. 2 of the said EO.

This is a departure from the requirements in the 1987 Constitution, which only requires that Senators be “a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.”

Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who sits as Chairman of the Con-Com, added that there were two schools of thought when qualifications were being discussed. There were those who wanted to include the college degree as a minimum requirement from the Senators to improve the quality of law. There was also a school of thought that recognized that only 10% of the Filipino population have a college degree. “The second school of thought won,” explained Puno.

When asked to elaborate more on the rationale behind the qualification, Puno pointed out that there are only a few in Congress who lack a college degree. The Con-Com is recommendation is just an “affirmation of the vote of the people,” he said. Qualifications for other positions are still up for discussion, according to Generoso.

The Con-Com is expected to complete drafting the proposed constitution by April 30, before they split up in teams and go around the country for public presentation and consultation.