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Pimentel says House should wait for Senate concurrence on Con-Ass

MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the House of Representatives should wait for the Senate’s approval before Congress convenes into a constituent assembly.

Pimentel said this on Monday, January 22, after the House transmitted to the Senate its concurrent resolution no. 9 urging Congress to constitute a Con-Ass to amend the 1987 Constitution and seeking Senate concurrence.

Pimentel said the mere fact that the House transmitted the resolution means it is recognizing the proper process, contrary to the public statements of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

“They will not do it, because they are waiting for our concurrence... This is the proper procedure being followed by the House to which it requests the concurrence of the Senate. They should now wait for the Senate,” Pimentel told reporters in an interview.

Tama ito (this is right) because the letter says the House is requesting for the concurrence of the Senate. It has been disposed off properly in the referral of business. It is now within the jurisdiction of the proper committee, committee on constitutional amendments. So [it's proper]. They will study. They will now recommend proper action by the Senate,” he added.

Pimentel said minority Senator Francis Pangilinan, chair of the committee, has vowed to submit a committee report by February.

Alvarez insists no need for Senate OK

Alvarez has repeatedly said that the House would proceed with amending the Constitution even without the Senate. But Pimentel believes this is not going to happen.

Hindi na nila gagawin yun. (They will not do that.) Everything is now in order actually. There is now a letter from the House informing us that they have passed concurrent reso number 9, [with the] last phrase, to which it requests the concurrence of the Senate. When the House acts, it waits for the counterpart,” he said.

Article 17, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution states that any amendment or revision may be proposed by Congress, upon a vote of 3/4 of all its members (Con-Ass). It is silent on the manner of voting.

The House speaker said it should be joint voting while senators are adamant that there should be a separate voting. In the case of the former, the voices of the 23 senators would be drowned out by the vote of nearly 300 members of the House of Representatives. (READ: Joint voting on Cha-Cha? Senate's problems, plans against it)

Senator Panfilo Lacson, with the support of his colleagues, earlier filed a resolution calling for the Senate to constitute itself as Con-Ass, separate from the House. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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