The Institute for Autonomy and Governance and International IDEA have partnered to provide space for deeper dialogue around substance and process issues related to federalism and charter change.


The Duterte administration envisions changing the country’s Constitution before the midterm elections in May 2019 when the new constitution would be ratified by plebiscite to provide the framework, structures, processes and timeline for a Federal Philippines.


The timeline for the proposed shift is tight. A consultative commission has been appointed by President Duterte to review the current Constitution and to recommend changes. Two resolutions, no. 8 and no. 9, are pending in the House of Representatives that call for the House and Senate to convene as a constituent assembly to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment. These resolutions propose detailed changes to the current Constitution. The PDP-LABAN Federalism Institute has likewise circulated a draft constitution. All proposals thus far include a shift to a federal system.


With concrete proposals out in the open, there is a great need to deepen understanding and analysis of the proposals in the light of the Philippine context and lessons from elsewhere.


IAG and International IDEA in association with the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) of the House of Representatives and the Senate Economic Planning Office (SEPO) will conduct six academic and non-partisan learning sessions each in the House and Senate—a total of 12 sessions— and a national forum in the end to bring together the House and the Senate with key stakeholders to present and discuss the findings from the learning sessions. 


Get to know the members of our Pool of Speakers—each of them is tasked to enrich every session with their respective interests and expertise. This list will be updated with more confirmed speakers for the remaining sessions.


PREVIOUSSESSION 4: Constitutional Design and the Promotion of Economic Competitiveness   

House of Representatives: June 28, 2018 

Senate of the Philippines: To be announced


Dr. Tom Ginsburg

Topic: Constitutional Design and the Promotion of Economic Growth: Key Insights from Comparative International Law


Image may contain: 1 person, close-upDr. Tom Ginsburg focuses on comparative and international law from an interdisciplinary perspective. He holds BA, JD, and PhD degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. His books include Judicial Review in New Democracies (2003), which won the C. Herman Pritchett Award from the American Political Science Association; The Endurance of National Constitutions (2009), which also won a best book prize from APSA; Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes (2014); and Judicial Reputation (2015). He currently co-directs the Comparative Constitutions Project, an effort funded by the National Science Foundation to gather and analyze the constitutions of all independent nation-states since 1789. Before entering law teaching, he served as a legal adviser at the Iran-US Claims Tribunal, The Hague, Netherlands, and he continues to work with numerous international development agencies and foreign governments on legal and constitutional reform. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza

Topic: Economic Competitiveness of the Philippines and Its Regions: Key Issues for Reform

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, close-upDr. Ronald U. Mendoza is the Dean of the Ateneo School of Government. Previously, he was an Associate Professor of Economics at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), and the Executive Director of the AIM Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness. He also served as a Senior Economist with the United Nations in New York. His research background includes work with UNICEF, UNDP, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and several non-governmental organizations in Manila, the Philippines. His work has appeared in various peer-reviewed economics and policy journals; and he has also published several books on international development, public finance and international cooperation. His work includes Providing Global Public Goods: Managing Globalization (Oxford University Press 2003), The New Public Finance: Responding to Global Challenges (Oxford University Press 2006), Children in Crisis: Protecting the Vulnerable and Promoting Recovery for All (Palgrave MacMillan 2012) and Building Inclusive Democracies in ASEAN (Anvil Press, Forthcoming). Mendoza obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics (Honors Program) from the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, his Masters in Public Administration and International Development (MPA-ID) from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from Fordham University. He is a recipient of various awards, including the 2012 National Academy of Science and Technology’s Ten Outstanding Young Scientist (OYS) in the Philippines (in Economics), the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders in 2013, and Devex 40 Under 40 Development Leader in 2013. He is a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Multi-Sector Governance Council; and he is a senior advisor to the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF). In addition, he is a Senior Fellow with the East West Institute in New York.


Dr. Romulo Miral Jr.

Topic: Fiscal Arrangements for Regional Economic Development: Key Lessons for Designing the Philippine Federal Constitution 

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, glasses and close-upDr. Romulo Miral currently the Deputy Secretary General of the Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD). He is also a fellow of the PDP Laban Federalism Institute. His career in government spans nearly three decades, with most of it spent at the House of Representatives Secretariat. Dr. Miral’s professional interests include tax policy and administration, public expenditure management, national government budgeting, and intergovernmental fiscal relations. He was a lecturer at the UP School of Economics and the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance and rendered consulting services to a number of multilateral and bilateral organizations. Dr. Miral obtained his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of the Philippines and his PhD in economics from the Australian National University.


 SESSION 3: Bill of Rights and Justice System

House of Representatives: June 18, 2018

Senate of the Philippines: June 19, 2018


Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer

Topic: Constitutions and the Promotion of Human Rights

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, glasses and close-upA political science professor at the University of the Philippines who joined the peace panel in 2010 as Chief Negotiator of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) in the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Miriam Coronel-Ferrer became the first woman chief negotiator in the world to sign a final peace accord with a rebel group. She graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines (Diliman) with a degree in philosophy. She also possesses a master's degree in Southeast Asian Studies from the University of Kent at Canterbury. Prof. Ferrer has published several books and journal articles on Philippine democratization, civil society, human rights and peace processes, and served as visiting professor in Hankuk University in Seoul, Hiroshima University in Japan, and Gadja Madah University in Yogjakarta, Indonesia. She is the recipient of the 2015 Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security.


Atty. Gwen G. De Vera

Topic: Human Rights and Justice System under the 1987 Constitution: Critical Analysis

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, close-upAtty. Gwen Grecia-De Verais a Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of the Philippines College of Law. She received her Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from the University of the Philippines in 1995 and placed 7thin the 1996 Philippine Bar Examinations. She served as law clerk for Associate Justice (ret.) Vicente V. Mendoza. She later became legal counsel for ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation. She was formerly an associate attorney with Poblador Bautista & Reyes and alternate director on an Advisory Board to the National Telecommunications Commission. She is likewise a Trustee and Corporate Secretary of Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. Atty. De Vera also served as Dean of the Manuel L. Quezon University School of Law and, briefly, as Executive Director of the Philippine Competition Commission (January 2017 to February 2018).


Atty. Roan I. Libarios

Topic: Emerging Charter Change Proposals on Human Rights and Justice System Under a Federal Setup

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, glasses and close-upAtty. Roan I. Libarios is a member of the Consultative Committee (ConCom) President Rodrigo Duterte constituted in January 2018 to review the Philippine Constitution. He is a former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. He served as vice governor of Agusan del Norte from 1992 to 1995 and congressman of the province’s second district from 1998 to 2001. At the House of Representatives, he chaired the Sub-Committee on International Human Rights and the Poverty Alleviation Committee, spearheaded the campaign against death penalty and actively lobbied for the “20/20 Initiative.” He was also the youngest among the 11 members of the House prosecution panel in the impeachment case against then President Joseph Estrada. Upon stepping down as representative, Atty. Libarios was appointed as a member of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) Peace Panel, the body formally tasked with the duty of engaging in peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Atty. Libarios is a founding partner of the Libra Law Office. He obtained his Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science and later, his law degree from the University of the Philippines. In UP, he joined the Philippine Collegian, the university’s official student publication, and later became its editor-in-chief.


 SESSION 2:Electoral System Reform and Design 

House of Representatives: May 29, 2018   |READ HIGHLIGHTS OF SESSION IN THE HOUSE

Senate of the Philippines: May 31, 2018


Dr. Paul Hutchcroft 

Topic: Strong Patronage, Weak Parties: The Case for Electoral System Redesign in the Philippines

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, glassesDr. Paul Hutchcroft is a scholar of comparative and Southeast Asian politics who has written extensively on Philippine politics and political economy. He has recently reassumed his post as Professor of Political and Social Change at the Australian National University after serving for four years (2013-2017) as Lead Governance Specialist with the Australian aid program in the Philippines. Hutchcroft joined the ANU in 2008, and was founding Director of the School of International, Political and Strategic Studies (since renamed the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs) in the ANU’s College of Asia and the Pacific from 2009 to 2013. Hutchcroft served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1993 to 2008, and has had shorter-term appointments with the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies (1991 to 1993) and the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore (2004 and 2005). He holds a B.A. from Macalester College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University. Since Hutchcroft first arrived in the Philippines in 1980, he has returned as often as possible and travelled throughout the archipelago: from Basco to Bulusan, Puerto Princesa to Catbalogan and Zamboanga to Tandag—as well as lots of places in between.



Ramon Casiple 

Topic: Key Political and Electoral Reforms in the Philippines

Image may contain: 1 person, close-upProf. Ramon Casiple is a prominent political analyst and reform advocate. As a long-time observer of the Philippine political scene, Prof. Casiple has been asked time and again for his opinions on developing events in the country by civil society organizations, sometimes foreign embassies, by his friends, of course, and the media. His views and insights are a staple of newspapers and television news. Prof. Casiple is the executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER), a Philippine-based non-government organization pioneering for the genuine democratization of governance and the empowerment of citizenry through parliamentary and electoral struggles. 



Julio Cabral Teehankee 

Topic: Emerging Proposals on Electoral System Reforms and Design

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, close-upJulio Cabral Teehankee is Full Professor and Research Fellow of Political Science and International Studies at De La Salle University where he served as Chair of the Political Science Department (1994-1997; 2001-2007); Chair of the International Studies Department (2008-2013); and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (2013-2017). In 2018, he was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to be a member of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution. He is the Executive Secretary of the Asian Political and International Studies Association (APISA) – the regional professional organization of scholars in political science, international relations, and allied disciplines. Currently, he is also the President of the Philippine Political Science Association (PPSA). Dr. Teehankee completed his postdoctoral studies at the Graduate Schools of Law and Politics at the University of Tokyo, Japan and obtained his PhD in Development Studies from De La Salle University. He appears regularly as a political analyst for local and international media outlets.



Dr. Socorro L. Reyes 

Topic: Gender Perspective in Electoral System Redesign

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, close-upDr. Socorro L. Reyes is a policy analyst, governance adviser, legislative specialist and women’s rights advocate. She is an international consultant on public policy and governance, social development and gender equality. At present, she is the Regional Gender and Governance Adviser of the Center for Legislative Development. She is also Chief Policy Adviser of Representative Rodolfo Albano III (First District, Isabela). She was Chief of the Asia-Pacific and Arab States of UN WOMEN, New York for six years (2005-2011); UNDP Senior Gender Adviser to the Government of Pakistan for three years (2001-2004); Director of Gender and Governance of the New York-based Women’s Environment and Development Organization (1999-2001), spearheading the Global Campaign for “50-50 Get the Balance Right!”. She taught Political Science at De La Salle University for over 20 years (1971-1991) and was the first Chairperson of the Department of Political Science. Dr. Reyes has written and published numerous articles and monographs on Women’s Political Participation. Her recent publication is on “Gender Assessment of the Legislative Structures and Processes of Selected Southeast Asian Countries from a CEDAW Perspective.” Among her present research interests are: 1) “Building the Women’s Vote” to look into the extent to which women’s votes decided the results of the 2016 national and local elections; 2) “Gender and Electoral System Reform”; and 3) “Gender Analysis of the Drug War.” 


SESSION 1: Constitutional Design: Principles, Processes and Imperatives   

House of Representatives: May 16, 2018  |READ HIGHLIGHTS OF SESSION IN THE HOUSE

Senate of the Philippines: May 17, 2018


Amanda Cats-Baril

Topics: Fundamentals and Comparative International Experiences in Constitutional Design & Constitution and Conflict Mitigation

Image may contain: 1 person, close-upAmanda Cats-Baril is International IDEA’s Constitution-building Advisor for the Asia Pacific. Ms. Cats-Baril is an international lawyer who specializes in constitutional law, human rights, post-conflict transitions, and democratization. Amanda focuses on the promotion and protection of minority, particularly indigenous peoples, rights and interests in the context of large scale development and government reform processes, with an emphasis on constitution-building. Upon graduating from NYU School of Law, Cats-Baril received the Arthur Helton Fellowship for Global Human Rights to support indigenous peoples’ participation in Nepal’s constitution-writing process. She has since conducted legal analysis and programme design around Asia for international organizations including UNDP, ICJ, the World Bank and the International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs. Prior to joining IDEA, Amanda was a Democracy and Governance Specialist with USAID/Nepal, managing a portfolio of peace-building, conflict mitigation, and local governance projects, and advising the US Government on transitional justice, conflict sensitivity and local organizational capacity development.



Sedfrey M. Candelaria

Topic: Constitution and Constitution Design in the Philippine Context: Critical Issues

Image may contain: 1 person, close-upProf. Sedfrey M. Candelaria is the Dean of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law (outgoing as of this session). He joined the law faculty in 1990 and has taught Constitutional Law, Public International Law, Indigenous Peoples and the Law, Children’s Rights, and International Economic Law. Dean Candelaria also heads the Research, Publications and Linkages Office of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA). He is a member of the PHILJA Corps of Professors and chairs its Department of Special Areas of Concern. He has authored several articles on constitutional law, law and economic development, judicial education, peace process, human rights, and international law. He has edited and conducted researches for UNICEF, ILO, UNHCR, UNDP and APEC Study Center. Dean Candelaria was actively involved in some celebrated test case litigation before the Supreme Court notably the Asia-Pacific Conference on East Timor, Davide Impeachment, IPRA and the GRP-MILF MOA-AD.



Michael O. Mastura

Topic: Role of Constitution and Imperatives in Process and Substance for Amending/ Revising the Philippine Constitution

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, hat and glassesMichael O. Mastura is a noted peace negotiator, lecturer and author. He is the author of Bangsamoro Quest. He has written extensively on the struggle of the Muslims in Mindanao for self-determination and contributed to the voices of Islam in the Philippines. Trained as a lawyer, he was responsible for the codification of Muslim Personal Laws in the country. He served from 1987 to 1995 as legislator and sponsored the law of Islamic investment bank in the Philippines. Elected delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, he currently advocates conflict resolutions through devolution and the law of peace agreements. He lives with his family in Cotabato City and the autonomous region in Mindanao.



Prof. Ponciano Bennagen

Topic: The Democratization Imperative in the Drafting of the 1987 Constitution

Image may contain: 1 person, close-upProf. Ponciano Bennagen is a former faculty member of the University of the Philippines and chair of its anthropology department. He was a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission that drafted the present Constitution. A social activist, field worker and long-time lumad advocate, Prof. Bennagen actively worked on the passage of Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) in 1997.





UPCOMING SESSIONS Dates are tentative; speakers will be announced.

SESSION 5: Shared and Self-rule and Senate as a Federal Upper Chamber

July 25 & 26, 2018

SESSION 6: Multi-level Governance: Division of Competencies, Subnational Government Framework and Defining Constituent Units

August 15 & 16, 2018


National Conference Details will be announced.

September 13, 2018