Senators insist amending the Constitution cannot push through without Senate’s vote
UNTV News • January 24, 2018 • 2817
MANILA, Philippines – Majority of senators are against the plan of the House of Representatives to solely amend the Constitution.
According to several senators, doing so would violate the Constitution.
“They cannot disregard us for the simple reason that there is budgetary appropriation when there will be a plebiscite. So they could not pass a budget without the participation of the Senate. So how can it reach plebiscite?” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said.
“Changing the name of a road needs Senate’s approval. How much more when it’s the Constitution that will be changed?” Senate Minority Leader Sen. Franklin Drilon said.
According to the chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, Senator Francis Pangilinan, the Congress should hastily amend the charter.
Pangilinan said it should be done in a proper and legal way.
Senate President Koko Pimentel initially said the upper chamber of Congress will amend the Constitution in a proper process although there will be no joint session under the constituent assembly. – 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
(L-F) top row: Senator Bam Aquino, Magdalo Party-List Representative Gary Alejano,Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) Chairman Atty. Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno (L-F) bottom row: Former Akbayan Party-List Representative Barry Gutierez, Agot Isidro, former Quezon Congressman Erin Tañada
MANILA, Philippines – Liberal Party president Senator Francis Pangilinan named six senatorial candidates who will form the “resistance slate” in the 2019 mid-term elections.
They are Senator Bam Aquino, former Quezon Congressman Erin Tañada, Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) Chairman Atty. Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, Magdalo Party-List Representative Gary Alejano, and former Akbayan Party-List Representative Barry Gutierez.
Pangilinan said the “Resistance Coalition” is also courting actress Agot Isidro to run but the actress is yet to decide. – UNTV News & Rescue
MANILA, Philippines – Amending the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for the change in the form of government from unitary to federal remains to be the priority of the Duterte Administration.
But at present, the Senate and the Lower House do not agree on which method to use in revising the Constitution.
For its part, Malacañang remains firm that it will not intervene and will let the legislative branch to resolve the matter.
“In this issue, even some justices of the Supreme Court say that the judiciary cannot intervene in this issue. It is just the Congress that can resolve this and that is the stand of Malacañang,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.
Meanwhile, Malacañang is confident that Congress understands President Rodrigo Duterte’s stand not to extend his term.
This was after Senate President Koko Pimentel said that the term of the president should be extended during the transition period of the country to federalism.
“I am telling you now, if I extend my term event just for one day, I am now asking the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP not to allow me or anybody else to mess up with the Constitution. If I extend, if I want to be a dictator, shoot me, I am not flattering you,” Duterte said.
“I don’t think the majority would want constitutional succession, so they better provide for a transition that would mean that the president will step down in 2022,” Roque said. – Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue
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