In solons bid to make Senate, House vote as one
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – The chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments was unperturbed if somebody questions the plan of Congress to mix as one the 22 members’ House of Senate and the 297 members House of Representatives to muster the three-fourth votes needed for the charter change bid.
Representative Roger Mercado said that anyone can question the Supreme Court on the plan of Congress but “(but) whether that question will prosper or not that’s another story,”he told Northern Watch.
He said voting as one or voting separately as an independent body has been a nagging question since attempts of those who want to change the Constitution started several years ago.
“Kasi the constitution allows amendment and revision by the ConCon (Constitutional Convention) by the Congress meeting as Constituent Assembly and through People’s Initiative napili natin iyong ConAss (Constitutent Assembly) ang problematic provision lang dito is iyong Congress will vote as one e,”he cited.
Mercado, however, said he is amenable for the Senate and the House of Representatives to vote separately if that is what other proponents want.“We are amenable. The House is amenable na we will vote separately. Walang problema. Ang atin lang iyong sincerity natin na magkaroon tayo ng tunay na Constitution”.
He said the consultation with the Filipinos all over the country will end on April 4 that started here last February 24 and continues every Friday.
A member of the 35 members of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments who was part of the four men Committee who came here told Northern Watch after the consulation that he was for the separate votation of the Houses of Senate and House of Representatives.
“Actually kung ako ang tatanungin mo viable iyong voting separately. Mas gusto ko iyan,” the solon who asked for anonymity cited.
He added that he could not speak for Mercado’s pronouncement to juxtapose the Senate and House to start up the charter change through the Constituent Assembly.
Political kibitzers were worried that in case the Senate votes separately to muster the three-fourth of 18 of the 22 senators (Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Leila De Lima are presently detained by the police) would be a tall order.
“Only few senators are believed can be herded on this matter by President Rodrigo Duterte who wanted to fast tract this constitutional change if one based those solons who voted for the Committee on Public Order & Dangerous Drugs chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson to hear SPO-3 Arthur Lascanas expose’ against President Duterte as the brain behind the series of death perpetrated by the Davao Death Squad,” one of them cited.
Senator Richared Gordon opposed vehemently the reopening of Lascanas hearing as he impugned Lascanas previous statements in October last year at the Committee on Justice he chaired that the president had nothing to do with the DDS.
A Constituent Assembly (C.A), according to Wikipidia, is composed of all members of the bicameral Philippine Congress (Senate and the House). It is convened by Congress to propose amendments to the 1987 constitution. Under Article XVII of the Constitution of the Philippines, amendments pass upon a vote of three fourths of all members of Congress, but it is not clear if the Congress should vote as a single body or as separate houses.
A Constitutional Convention, Wikipidia said, is a gathering for the purpose of writing a new constitution or revising an existing constitution. Members of a constitutional convention are often elected by popular vote. The resulting constitutional frame of government is often subjected to a popular vote via referendum before it enters into force.
Representative Vicente Veloso, a former justice of the Court of Appeals, told the more than one hundred attendes from different sectors the C.A is the practical vehicle than C.C because C.A could save ten billion pesos of the public funds in the deliberation, debate, and amendment or revision by its members of the fundamental law.
Only five of the attendees raised their hands when asked if who among them favored Constituent Assembly while more than ten of the more than a hundred attendees favored Constitutional Convention as the mode to change the Constitution.