House ‘act­ing as Con-Ass’ to amend Con­sti­tu­tion

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Nation -

THE House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives is now act­ing as a con­stituent assem­bly to pro­pose amend­ments to the 1987 Con­sti­tu­tion and pave the way for a fed­eral govern­ment.

Leyte Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Vi­cente Veloso, chair­man of the House com­mit­tee on con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments, stated this on Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 9, a week after the com­mit­tee adopted the Res­o­lu­tion of Both Houses No. 15.

The res­o­lu­tion, filed by Speaker Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo and 21 other law­mak­ers, en­dorses the so-called Ar­royo draft con­sti­tu­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Veloso, the House tar­gets the rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Ar­royo-backed pro­posed amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion in Fe­bru­ary so that the pub­lic can vote on it in May 2019.

Veloso said the Con­sti­tu­tion does not spec­ify that the Se­nate and the House of Repere­sen­ta­tives should con­vene jointly at a par­tic­u­lar place to pro­pose amend­ments to the char­ter.

He added that even former Se­nate Pres­dent Aquilino Pimentel III ear­lier said the amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion should be treated in the same way that the Congress leg­is­lates.

“Sabi ni Koko Pimentel, let’s ap­proach it like we are leg­is­lat­ing statute… House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives will do its share, Se­nate will do its share. In case of dif­fer­ences, we will rec­on­cile through bi­cam (bi­cam­eral con­fer­ence com­mit­tee),” Veloso said.

He added: “At least kami tapos na kami (we are done). It can­not be said that we are wast­ing peo­ple’s money.

In Jan­uary, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives adopted House Con­cur­rent Res­o­lu­tion No. 9 that would con­vene the Se­nate and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives as a con­stituent assem­bly to pro­pose amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion.

The Se­nate has yet to adopt the same res­o­lu­tion.

Asked if the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives can con­vene even with­out their Se­nate coun­ter­part, Veloso an­swered in the af­fir­ma­tive.

“Res­o­lu­tion No. 9 al­ready de­fines what we are do­ing as a con­stituent assem­bly. It went to the Se­nate -- whether or not it has been acted upon, the Con­sti­tu­tion does not say that it will be­come a con­stituent assem­bly only if the other house acts on our Res­o­lu­tion no 9,” Veloso clar­i­fied.

Se­na­tor Pan­filo Lac­son ear­lier pro­posed to ex­pel any se­na­tor who at­tends the joint hear­ing on char­ter change pur­suant to House Res­o­lu­tion No. 9, say­ing they will not act on it and will just de­lib­er­ate among them­selves which mode will be used to amend the Con­sti­tu­tion: con­stituent assem­bly or con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tion.

Last Au­gust, House Speaker Ar­royo filed an­other res­o­lu­tion re­it­er­at­ing the call of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the Congress to con­vene.

The same res­o­lu­tion spec­i­fied that the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and the Se­nate will vote sep­a­rately on char­ter change, in con­tra­dic­tion to the state­ment of former House Speaker Pan­ta­leon Al­varez that both houses should vote jointly in amend­ing the char­ter. (SunS­tar Philip­pines)

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