September 30, 2011
Whatever was discussed during the summit does not bind the Senate in any way, and a separate act of the Senate is necessary if this is to become official. As it stands everything is unofficial and without any binding effect on any of the Senators. Even the creation of the Committee between both Houses needs Senate approval before it can bind the Senate.
There has been no Senate caucus to discuss this. There have been no Committee nor plenary debates held on the issue, and so I am wondering why it is being reported that Congress already has a position on the issue of Charter Change.
We take the inputs made during the legislative summit as inputs to help guide us should we see the need to discuss Charter Change in the plenary, but the individual Senators are not bound by what was discussed there. Until it is brought to the plenary, debated and approved, there is no official Senate position. The way it is made to appear by some quarter that ChaCha is a done deal is most unfortunate. It does not help their cause any as it preempts the rest of the Senators on the issue.
The proper procedure is for the inputs of the summit to be forwarded to the Committee on Constitutional Amendments for proper action. Creating a Committee between both Houses preempts the work of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments. We should not take legal shortcuts to fast track Charter Change debates because to do so will be harmful in the long run. Charter Change debates should be inclusive and not exclusive. I suggest those pushing for Charter Change to review the direction of effort: Don’t put the cart before the horse.
The action points agreed upon in the summit requires Senate sanction; otherwise it has no binding effect on the Senate.