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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Presidential Consultative Committee (Con-Com) is hoping senators’ “sense of patriotism and love of country” will prevail and encourage them to embrace the moves to revise the 1987 Constitution.
This was Con-Com spokesperson Ding Generoso’s reply when asked on Tuesday, August 7, how they plan to convince senators to agree to charter change and pave the way for federalism.
“Well, we’re just appealing to the sense of patriotism and love of country of our senators. This is the only chance that we’ve had since what, 120 years ago, when we established the first republic in Asia,” said Generoso.
“Our country has gone through so many administrations, but if we look back in our history, the problems that [Jose] Rizal and [Andres] Bonifacio faced during their time are still the same problems that we have. Hopefully with this change, we can address most of these problems that have been left hanging for over a century,” he added.
On Tuesday, Generoso and several Con-Com members met in an executive session with the House committee on constitutional amendments. Upon the orders of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the panel members consulted the Con-Com how to convince the Senate to convene into a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) with the House.
Generoso, however, refused to give further details on their discussion during the executive session.
Asked for comment on the move, Senator Francis Pangilinan said in aninterview on radio dzMM on Tuesday, August 7: “Well, that looks good on paper. But we have to be vigilant.”
“What is to stop any congressman from going to the Supreme Court and questioning the voting separately resolution and telling [the Court] that it should be [joint] voting?” said Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes.
The Senate has so far strongly opposed joint voting in Con-Ass, a scenario previously floated by ousted speaker Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez. Senators have argued that their power would be diminished in joint voting, as there are only 24 of them compared to 291 representatives in the House.
This was why Arroyo already said she is amenable to separate voting in a Con-Ass in a bid to end the “stalemate” on the manner of voting since her presidency, when several unsuccessful attempts to revise the 1987 Constitution were also made.
She also told the constitutional amendments panel to stop deliberating on the draft federal charter, as this is a job she believes the Con-Ass should be doing once convened.
Arroyo and her allies have filed House Resolution Number 2056 formally expressing the sentiments of the House for the lower chamber and the Senate to vote separately in a Con-Ass. – Rappler.com