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Senate, House should vote on Cha-cha separately — Con-com members

/ 05:10 PM July 17, 2018

The House of Representatives cannot amend the 1987 Constitution without the Senate, members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Consultative Committee (Con-com) said on Tuesday.

However, Con-com chairperson and retired Chief Justice Reynato Puno pointed out that the two chambers of the Congress can vote separately on the issue of amending the Charter.

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He explained that a provision in the draft charter allows the House and the Senate to do this.

Still, Puno explained that letting the two chambers vote separately is just one of the school of thoughts on the issue.

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“I respect the other school of thought that the two chambers may vote jointly,” he said in Filipino.

The former Chief Justice said the Supreme Court must be the one to decide on this.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said the lower house can hold proceedings to change the charter even without the senators.

This prompted Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV to ask during the Senate inquiry on charter change if the lower house on its own, can indeed tackle the shift to federalism.

However, former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. said in Filipino, “It’s only in the mind of Speaker Pantelon Alvarez. It cannot be done.”

On the issue about the Senate and the House of Representatives voting separately, Pimentel said the 280 members of the lower house will overwhelm the 24 senators

Meanwhile,  former Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura also agreed that the two chambers should vote separately on the issue.

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“I wrote a book on this and I don’t see the need to change that,” Nachura said.   /vvp

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TAGS: Charter change, Philippine news updates, Reynato Puno, Supreme Court
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