Former Supreme Court justices favor Constitutional Convention
UNTV News • January 18, 2018 • 4315
FILE PHOTO: Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno
MANILA, Philippines — Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno called the proposal to amend the Constitution through constituent assembly a “cheap argument”.
Puno said there will be a conflict of interest if the lawmakers will rewrite the Constitution.
“The justification on Con-Ass, it is cheaper than a Con-Con, to me that is cheap argument … we should not count when writing the Constitution. A good constitution is the best investment a people can make” Puno said.
Meanwhile, former CJ Hilario Davide Junior said it is not necessary to revise the Constitution and change the current form of the government.
“A shift to federalism is a lethal experiment, a fatal leap, a plunge to death and a leap to hell…. I will not hesitate to assert that our 1987 Constitution even if imperfect, as none is perfect except God, is the best in the world, the best for our country and our people not just of this generation but even for generations yet unborn,” former chief justice of the Supreme Court and member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, Hilario Davide Jr. said.
Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and member of the 1986 Constitutionalnal Commission, Adolfo Azcuna said, “Amend it first, do not revise it, because revision is such a big word.”
However, former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Junior, one of the advocates of federalism, believes it is important to change the form of government as this will result in more investments and economic growth for the country.
“There is no need to revise the good provision of the constitution for example the existing system of the Ombudsman, why we should revise that?” he said.
Other invited resource persons also deemed that the anti-political dynasty provision of the constitution should be revisited, which former members of the Con-Com agreed on.
“We should have a provision that would regulate political dynasty,” said Florangel Rosario Braid, also a 1986 Constitutional Commission member.
But for the academe, the strengthening of government’s policies against political and economic monopoly is necessary to strengthen the country’s economic growth.
“So yun po ang kailangang puntiryahin natin, hindi yung form, yung monopoly (What we need focus on is not the form but the monopoly),” Ateneo de Manila University School of Government Dean Ronald Mendoza said.
The next hearing of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments will continue to focus on the issue on federalism. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue
Some senators are still not sold on the idea of instilling changes in the 1987 Constitution in the 18th Congress.
This, despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s manifestations of pursuing the charter change.
Senator Franklin Drilon said it is still uncertain as to how senators will vote on the proposed constitutional amendment.
Drilon said, “(It is) difficult to predict at this time how the senators will vote. Senate prides itself as independent of Malacañang.”
“Plus, I sense that a number of my colleagues have a “moist eye” on the Presidency in 2022, and may not support an amendment which may lead to a shift to federalism,” he added.
Liberal Party president, Senator Francis Pangilinan, who held the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, meanwhile, said the fate of the charter change will depend on composition of the Senate.
“That all depends on the majority. We will see how it goes given the new composition of the Senate,” Pangilinan said.
Senator Ralph Recto, on the other hand, said he still wants to have the cha-cha proposal scrutinized.
“We’ll have to take a look at details of the cha-cha proposal,” he said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, believes that majority of the senators have not wavered in their stance regarding the charter change.
“It’s a little more complicated than what the President and the House want. Why? We are simply back to the same question, which is to clarify the ambiguity of the provision in the Constitution that deals with the manner of voting by Congress constituting itself into a constituent assembly,” Lacson said.
He further said, “Again, in doing so, we are faced with a chicken and egg situation. If it’s via ConCom, do we have enough time to accomplish it before the end of his term?”
Neophyte senator Francis Tolentino, however, believes that the passage of the proposed change in the form of government can still happen during President Duterte’s term.
“Tapos na yung preparatory work ng ConCom. Yung ginawa ni former Justice Puno [The preparatory work in ConCom is finished. What former Justice Puno did], it was commissioned by the executive branch. May napadala na silang report at nasa infancy stage na yung kauna unahang version nito yung sa Bangsamoro. Hindi pa siguro huli ang lahat [They were able to send their report and the very first version of it – the Bangsamor- is already at the infancy stage. Maybe it’s not yet too late,” Tolentino said.
The proposed charter change was able to slightly move in the Lower House during the 17th Congress.
It was, however, stalled in the Senate until the Congress adjourned. (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
As far as several Metro Manila universities are concerned, majority of their students have already decided on who to vote for in the May 13 Midterm Elections.
According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the youth had been a force to reckon with in the last Presidential election and that they still could make a big impact on the May 13 polls.
Based on Comelec data, one third (31%) of the voting population is comprised by the youth, and that the candidates are being wise enough to woo the Millennials for their votes.
In the mock elections held at the University of the Philippines (UP) Manila and Baguio this April, Liberal Party candidates took the lead, followed by several independent and administration candidates.
The mock election at PUP Manila, on the other hand, showed that an independent candidate took the lead followed by opposition and administration candidates.
Meanwhile, Atty. Larry Gadon’s campaign had been proven effective among the students in De La Salle University Dasmariñas.
The Liberal Party, on the other hand, led in mock elections held at the University of Santo Tomas, the Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of San Carlos in Cebu.
Political analyst Edmund Tayao, however, said the mock elections have no enough bearing on the real elections, and that there is a big difference on the results of the national surveys and the mock elections in universities.
“Kung hihimayin mo ang resulta in terms of segments and sector in society, consistent yan, walang problema. Pero yung sasabihin mo na magiging significant sya sa overall result eh hindi yan ang lumalabas kung ikukumpara sa national surveys [If you will scrutinize the results in terms of segments and sectors in society, they are consistent. But saying that they will be significant in the overall result, it’s not what the national surveys had been showing],” he added.
Several mock elections are still being lined up in various universities. Other political analysts, however, said that mock elections do not reflect the real sentiments of the whole nation. – Maris Federez (with reports from Mon Jocson)
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