House approves charter change
Led by a supermajority dominated by administration allies, the House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to pass a resolution to amend the 1987 Constitution.
In a session presided over by Deputy Speaker and Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero, a total of 224 lawmakers voted in favor of Resolution of Both Houses No. 15, just five votes more than the required 219, or three-fourths of the total House membership of 292 required to amend the Charter.
Twenty-two congressmen, mostly belonging to opposition groups like the leftist Makabayan bloc, the so-called Magnificent 7 and several belonging to the recognized minority group led by the House Minority Leader, Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, voted against it.
The objectors condemned the shift to federalism, the lifting of term limits, absence of provisions against political dynasties and Congress being given the power to allow foreign ownership of land, educational institutions and media companies and liberalization of public utilities, among others.
Senior Deputy Minority Leader Jose “Lito” Atienza, of the Buhay party-list group, said the adoption of the resolution was hasty.
“Shifting to federalism is not the answer to our problems today or even for tomorrow,” Atienza said.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman agreed saying “alacrity could spell disaster.”
Lagman said passing the resolution was “an exercise in futility” because the voting process for constituent assembly, which would include the Senate, had not been resolved.
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