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House, Senate leaders to tackle Con-Ass

  • Written by Jester P. Manalastas
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 312

LEADERS of both Houses of Congress will meet next week to discuss details of the convening of the Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass).

This was disclosed by House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas in an interview, adding that the Senate and House of Representatives need to agree the manner of voting on the proposed amendments.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel Jr. and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez will lead the meeting set Tuesday next week. The venue of the gathering remains undisclosed.

The lawmakers will decide whether they will temporarily suspend the session of regular lawmaking to focus on their task as constituent assembly.

“When we indeed go into a constituent assembly, kaiilangan ng close coordination between the House and the Senate.  At the initiative of the speaker he called up Koko yesterday in order for us to sit down and tackle the Charter change move,” Farinas said.

“Dapat itigil muna ang legislative mill, tutal naman marami na tayong batas. Hindi naman natin ikamamatay kung walang mapasang batas,” he added.
While Con-Ass is now the preference of President Rodrigo Duterte, many of the lawmakers are still insisting on Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) as the best mode for Charter Change.
During the meeting, Farinas said, they will have to settle or even vote if they will convene Congress into a constituent assembly that will overhaul the 1987 Constitution.
According to Farinas, who was considered one of the top legal framers of the country, it is clear in the 1987 Constitution that a constituent assembly can push to amend or revise the Charter through 3/4 vote.
Earlier, Alvarez proposed the formation of a constitutional commission which will be composed of 20 to 25 legal  experts and sectoral leaders to help draft amendments to the Constitution.
He will ask Duterte to issue an executive order creating such panel of experts but he limited the number to just 20.
Meanwhile, Farinas chided the House independent bloc for assailing the constituent assembly proposal and insisting that a constitutional convention should be the mode of amending the Charter.
“That is not correct.  The Constitution provides that any amendment or revision may be made by Congress or the second option, by constitutional convention.  It is Congress that decides whether Con-Con or Con-Ass,” he stressed.