Solons find Sotto’s proposal on hybrid constitutional body ‘unconstitutional’
Opposition lawmakers chided Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Friday for proposing a “hybrid” constitutional body composed of Congress members, nominees by the President, and the people to vote on the proposed Charter change (Cha-cha)
Some members of the House Magnificent 7 and Makabayan opposition blocs have hurled their criticisms against the “illegal” constitutional body composed of 12 senators, 12 members of the House o Representatives, 12 nominees from the President, and another 12 nominees from the public, being suggested by Sotto.
Caloocan City 2nd District Rep. Edgar Erice said this proposal “has no constitutional basis.”
“I don’t know where he’s getting this idea of changing the charter through a mode that is alien even to ‘wambol university,’” Erice said in a statement.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano reminded Sotto that the only constitutional modes of amending Constituent assembly (Con-ass), or Constitutional convention (Con-con).
Under a Con-con, changes would be proposed by representatives elected by the people, while in a Con-ass, the task of changing the Constitution would be given to sitting legislators.
The Lower Chamber earlier adopted a resolution which seeks to convene Congress into a Con-as) to amend the Charter.
It is also pushing for a joint voting of the Congress, which Senate is strongly opposing.
The Cha-cha being proposed in Congress could lead into a shift to a federal form of government, which was one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promises, and an advocacy of his party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat said amending the Charter through a Con-con is “the best option,” as it is the “least vulnerable to political self interests and more representative of the voice of the people.”
While Sotto’s proposal may sound “novel or innovative,” Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said it “falls short of substance and spirit along defined constitutional parameters and established jurisprudence.”
Apart from the “constitutional illegality and invalidity of the Sotto proposal,” Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Raul Daza suspects that neither the House nor its individual members “could and should shirk its or their constitutionally ordained duty, function and responsibility to participate in a constituent assembly to revise or amend the Constitution.”
Makabayan bloc members have also opposed the Senate President’s idea.
ACT-Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said the modes and manner of proposing constitutional amendments are set by the Constitution itself and “not subject to the whims and fancies of the Senate President.”
Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago meanwhile said “not even the rosiest of proposals can save Duterte’s self-serving, pro-plunder and corruption Cha-cha from the people’s rage.”
“The Filipino youth, alongside marginalized and oppressed sectors, will continue to expose and oppose Duterte’s charter change that will not only cement his tyrannical dictatorship, and worse, further enslave the Filipino people with chronic poverty, oligarch exploitation, and foreign subservience,” she added.
Unless no concrete solutions are given by the government to answer the demands of the workers, the urban homeless, the landless due to land-grabbing from indigenous peoples and peasants, among others, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus said this Cha-cha effort is “inutile.” /vvp
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