House pushing for con-con to gain public trust – panel exec

House pushing for con-con to gain public trust – panel exec GMA News Online

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Published February 21, 2023 2:13pm

The House of Representatives is pursuing a constitutional convention (con-con) to make Charter change acceptable to the public, Iloilo congressman Lorenz Defensor said Tuesday. Defensor made the statement a day after the House constitutional amendments panel approved the unnumbered Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) calling for con-con to amend the 1987 Constitution. “We passed the Resolution of Both Houses for con-ass (constituent assembly) amending the economic provisions of the Constitution [limiting foreign ownership of industries] on third reading last Congress, but it has not gained public trust and was not acted upon by the Senate,” Defensor, senior vice chairperson of the committee, said in an interview with ANC. “That is why the committee approved a resolution for con-con to make it more acceptable to the public, with the same thrust of amending the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution, particularly Articles 12, 14, and 16,” he added. The Constitution may be amended or revised through the following: a constituent assembly (con-ass) of incumbent lawmakers; a constitutional convention (con-con) made up of delegates elected by the people; and the people’s initiative. “What happens next [to the RBH for con-con approval at the committee level] is that we have to approve a separate bill for the scope of the con-con…meaning setting the mechanics, qualifications of the delegates, its composition, and the date and place of the con-con,” Defensor said. The same resolution calling for con-con said that the House and the Senate would vote on it separately, a provision not expressly stated in the Constitution. Section 3, Article 17 of the Constitution states that “the Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its members, call a constitutional convention, or by a majority vote of all its members, submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention.” Defensor said that such a provision on voting separately was stated in the RBH for con-con to get the Senate on board. “We hope…it would be better if the Senate would have a counterpart resolution, which will also be approved in the Senate,” Defensor said. “We respect their constitutional power to approve an RBH calling for con-con. We need a Senate counterpart,” he added. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. already said Charter change was not a priority of his administration, but opposition stalwart Edcel Lagman of Albay was unconvinced given the support of Marcos’ allies in Congress for it. “There must be an overwhelming, furtive reason why the Cha-cha caravan is rolling fast in the House of Representatives despite President Marcos’ avowal that Charter change is not on his priority agenda,” Lagman said. “It is not that members of the supermajority coalition have finally learned to be independent of the Executive. Perhaps, it is because the President must have given his covert assent to Cha-cha even as he appears to be distancing himself from it,” he added. — VBL, GMA Integrated News

Tags: Constitutional convention, charter change, Lorenz Defensor, House of Representatives

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