Michael Lim Ubac
January 6, 2010
MANILA, Philippines—Two senators called on the House of Representatives on Tuesday to accept the reality that any move to tinker with the Constitution would be unpopular to an electorate eager to cast its vote in fresh elections on May 10.
Senator Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional ammendments and revision of laws, and Senator Francis Pangilinan reminded their colleagues in the Lower House for the nth time that there was no time for any Charter amendments under the Arroyo administration.
“I don’t know anymore which planet they, who are still pushing for Cha-cha, are living in. It’s a futile and useless effort that I and the Filipino people will never allow or stand for,” said Escudero.
The best move is to ignore the House’s move, said the two senators when asked to comment on the House leadership’s final bid to pass a bill seeking to convene a constitutional convention (Con-con) for the purpose of amending the 1987 Constitution next year.
“Time may not be on our side, but we will do it. All the standing and special committees, led by the committee on rules, are up to their respective mandates. We have work to do,” Speaker Prospero Nograles said.
Escudero and Pangilinan countered that tackling the proposed convening of a Con-con in conjunction with the scheduled barangay polls in October this year was a futile exercise.
The Senate is out of time, said Escudero, describing Nograles’ decision to still calendar the Con-con bill as a “useless effort and utter waste of time and resources” of Congress.
Both chambers will resume sessions on Jan. 8 only to adjourn on Feb. 5 for the three-month campaign period.
In an interview with dwIZ’s Cel Bueno, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile did not mention Cha-cha as part of the Senate agenda for the remaining nine session days.
Pangilinan said the Senate won’t waste its precious time on the on-again, off-again Cha-cha move.
Pangilinan is the author of a Senate resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that any attempt by the House to amend the Constitution without the approval of three-fourths of the Senate, voting separately with the House, was unconstitutional.
“The Senate will not allow Cha-cha under the current dispensation. With only three weeks of Senate sessions left and election preparations now going full steam ahead, the Cha-cha effort is totally out of sync with reality,” he said.
The proposals for a Con-con have been pending in the House for a long time.
The latest one is composed of a resolution calling for a Con-con and a separate bill authored by Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga that sets down the mechanics and details for organizing a constitutional convention in 2010.
The bill proposes to hold elections for 303 Con-con delegates.
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