THE first Charter Change (Cha-Cha) public hearing ended in a verbal tussle and near-fist fight between two Mindanaoan solons.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay engaged in a shouting match after the committee suspended the proceeding.
It was Barbers who approached Pichay seated in the opposite row to tell him his manifestation is “stupid.”
Pichay in an angry voice retorted: “Bakit ka nagagalit” then called Barbers a “son of a bitch.”
At this point Barbers also cursed Pichay and they almost hit each other.
Some of their colleagues tried to pacify them until the chairman of the committee, Rep. Roger Mercado, called for a roll call of members then adjourned the meeting.
In an interview, Barbers apologized to public for his behavior.
“Ako po ay humihingi ng paumanhin sa taongbayan. Uncalled for po iyon. Dala lang ng masamang pananalita kaya nakapagsalita din ako,” Barbers said but clarified that he is not apologizing to Pichay.
During the deliberation, Barbers was irritated by Pichay who made a manifestation to invite the senators to a joint committee hearing on Constitutional amendments.
Pichay, who had the floor, told his colleagues not to speak during his turn.
Barbers then raised a “point of order” to stop Pichay by telling the chairman “let’s not entertain stupid motions here.”
Yesterday, the House committee on constitutional amendments started hearing the pending measures proposing modes to amend the Charter to change the form of government to Federal system.
To date there are 29 measures filed proposing either Constituent Assembly (Con-ass) or Constitutional Convention (Con-con) as a mode of amending the Constitution.
The committee members are set to vote on the motion of Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia to adopt a substitute resolution calling for the convening of the Constituent Assembly to propose the Constitutional Amendments.
The first resolution on Con-Ass was filed by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez.
Also present during the hearing was former President now Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who filed a measure proposing Con-Ass.