NOT railroaded, but it only took two public hearings for the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments to approve a motion calling for Congress to convene as Constituent Assembly.
With a vote of 32-7, the committee members agreed to consider Con-Ass as the mode to overhaul the country’s 1987 Constitution.
“This panel approved concurrent resolution calling for Congress of the Philippines to constitute itself into a constituent assembly for the purpose of proposing amendments to or revisions to the 1987 Constitution,” Chairman of the committee Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado declared shortly after the voting.
The nitty-gritty of the Con-Ass as well as the procedures and manner of voting will be further discussed in the technical working group.
At yesterday’s hearing, the members also approved the motion of Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas to have a substitute resolution for the Con-Ass.
Among the authors of the Con-Ass bills are Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez, Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia.
The approval of the motion should have been tackled last week but was deferred after two solons -- Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay -- engaged in altercation and near fistfight.
Administration allies have shown their support to President Rodrigo Duterte who first pitched his desire to change the form of government to federalism.
Duterte wanted it done through Con-Ass after he was informed that Constitutional Convention is more expensive.
The seven solons who voted against the Con-Ass resolution were Dinagat Island Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad, Buhay Reps. Michael Velarde and Lito Atienza, Compostella Valley Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, Manila Teachers Rep. Virgilio Lacson and Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Fortun.
At least three abstained — Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin, COOP-NATCOO Rep. Anthony Bravo and ABS Rep. Eugene de Vera.
Under Article 17 of the Constitution, there are three modes of amending the charter: Con-Con, Con-Ass and People’s Initiative.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez asked President Duterte to issue an executive order creating a constitutional commission to aid Congress in crafting a revised Charter.