Tolentino, dela Rosa make push for Congress to convene as Con-ass to amend Constitution
MANILA, Philippines — Two senators have filed a resolution convening Congress as a constituent assembly (Con-ass) to introduce “limited amendments” to the 1987 Constitution.
Senate Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, filed on December 7, 2020, was authored by Senators Francis Tolentino and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
In the resolution, the senators said reforms are needed to be introduced to the country’s 33-year old Constitution “in order to aid the country in achieving economic growth, especially during this time of rising global uncertainty.”
“Against the backdrop of mounting economic and health concerns brought about by the pandemic, it is important to ensure that the subsequent national policies and strategies for the rehabilitation of our nation be responsive to the needs of our people in order to bring about genuine economic growth and sustainable development,” the senators said in the resolution.
The resolution also states that the amendments proposed are only “limited to the provisions on democratic representation and the economic provisions of the Constitution.”
But is there a chance that such resolutions will be approved in the upper chamber? Senate President Vicente Sotto III said, “I can’t really tell.”
“We need a majority vote to approve the resolution and convene but you need 3/4ths vote to approve constitutional amendments,” Sotto said in a text message.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is set to resume its debates on the controversial topic of charter change this month, but leaders assure that discussions will only focus on the “restrictive” economic provisions of the Constitution.
Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., who chairs the House committee on constitutional amendments, said that the hearings might be held as early as January 13, days before the lower chamber resumes session on January 18.
Garbin said the topic of the constitutional amendment was among the priority legislative agenda of the House.
Among the measures that will be tackled is the one filed by Velasco—the Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, which proposes amendments to certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
Under Velasco’s proposal, the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” shall be added in several sections of Article XII (National Patrimony and Economy), Article XIV (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports), and Article XVI (General Provisions). [ac]
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.