A member of the House “legitimate” Minority group yesterday assailed Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas for asking members of the Lower Chamber to suspend making laws in anticipation of the Charter change.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a veteran lawmaker, said he found Farinas statement “ludicrous,” reminding his colleagues that the main task of the members of Congress is to craft laws.
In an earlier interview, Farinas was quoted as saying “we may have to have to stop the legislative mill. Why? Because we are already rewriting the Constitution. We might as well stop legislation first.”
Farinas said lawmakers should set aside for the meantime the bills on divorce, death penalty, as these may all be excluded in the next Constitution.
“So let’s stop making laws. We have so many laws, and it won’t kill us if we stop making new ones,” Fariñas added.
According to Lagman, as Majority Leader, it is the duty of Fariñas to push for the enactment of the President’s legislative agenda that include death penalty.
To date, the Congress leaders are preparing for the possible convening into a Constituent Assembly that would amend the Constitution, which is also the priority of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Lagman said the House has its own priority bills of national significance which should not be “hanged at the gallows” of a suspended legislative process.
From the Bicol region strongly opposed the Con-Ass, as he stressed that the principal power of Congress is to enact laws and formulate policies, while a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) is mandated to propose amendments to or revisions of the Constitution.
The second Minority group led by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. is pushing for Con-Con as a means to amending the Constitution.
Authority of the Congress is only an additional function of the legislature, while the constituent power of a constitutional convention is its sole function,” Lagman said.
Lagman also told Farinas that laws enacted by Congress do not need the ratification of the people, while the proposed amendments of the constitutional convention are subject to the people’s approval in a plebiscite, like projected amendments by any mode.