charter change

House passes bill detailing how to proceed with charter change via Con-Con

Dwight de Leon

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House passes bill detailing how to proceed with charter change via Con-Con

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. The House plenary hall.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

(1st UPDATE) The bill lists the requirements that must be met by convention delegates, most of whom would be elected simultaneously during the barangay elections in October 2023

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives passed on final reading on Tuesday, March 14, the accompanying bill to a resolution that calls for charter change through a constitutional convention (Con-Con).

House Bill (HB) No. 7352 is important because it seeks to explain how exactly the Philippine government would form a Con-Con, details of which were absent from the previously approved Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6.

A total of 301 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, while seven others opposed the measure, namely:

  • Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Gabriel Bordado
  • Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas
  • ACT Teachers Representative France Castro
  • Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte
  • Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman
  • Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman
  • Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel

“The sponsors of Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 and HB No. 7352 repeatedly and correctly admitted that the agenda of a constitutional convention cannot be controlled by Congress. Consequently, the political provisions in the Constitution can be altered, including term limits,” Lagman said.

“In truth, overhauling the post-EDSA Constitution is part and parcel of the Marcosian grand design to overturn the course of history and roll back the supreme gains of the democratic EDSA uprising,” Brosas added.

The measure hurdled the House at a speedy pace even though President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. had said charter change was not a priority of his administration – the substitute bill was filed on February 28.

RBH 6, which is basically the entire stand of the House on charter change, had passed the House on March 6.

HB 7352 calls for a hybrid Con-Con, with one delegate elected per legislative district, and 20% of the total coming from sectoral representatives jointly appointed by the Senate President and House Speaker.

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FAST FACTS: What does the House bill on charter change contain?

FAST FACTS: What does the House bill on charter change contain?

The proposal also lists the requirements that must be met by the convention delegates: they must be at least 25 years old, a college degree holder, and a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, among others.

What the bill does not have, however, are prohibitions on relatives of elected officials seeking to be part of the proposed Con-Con.

The election of delegates is eyed for October 30, coinciding with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Each delegate would be entitled to a pay of P10,000 for every day of actual attendance, excluding travel and accommodation allowance. Terms would last seven months and 13 days.

The convention would have to submit its report to the President, Congress, and Commission on Elections on or before July 30, 2024.

The amendments would be ratified through a plebiscite to be held 60 to 90 days after the convention report is submitted.

The entire process is estimated to cost around P9.5 billion, House constitutional amendments panel chairman Rufus Rodriguez said.

The ball is now in the hands of the Senate to pass a resolution and a bill seeking to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution, although senators have expressed either opposition or reservations toward either charter change or constitutional convention. –

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.