Senate panel to open Cha-cha hearing on Jan. 27
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on constitutional amendments will open deliberations on the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, chair of the committee, said the hearing will first discuss the timeliness of proposals for Charter change (Cha-cha) during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Una, given Covid and ‘yung ating krisis sa ekonomiya, napapanahon ba mag-Charter change?,” he said in a statement on Monday.
(First of all since there is still Covid and there’s a crisis in the economy, is now the right time to have Charter change?)
The panel would be taking up Senator Sherwin Gatchalian’s Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 1 and Senator Richard Gordon’s Senate Joint Resolution No. 1, both of which seek to amend the Constitution’s “restrictive” economic provisions.
The RBH filed by Senators Francis Tolentino and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa seeking to convene Congress as a constituent assembly (Con-ass) to introduce “limited amendments” to the Constitution, is also included in the agenda.
Pangilinan said the sectors affected by the proposed amendments will be consulted during the hearing.
The hearing will also be tackling procedural concerns and “prejudicial questions” that need to be considered relative to the proposed Charter change, he added.
“Kung napapanahon ang Charter change, ito ba ay dapat con-ass [constitutional assembly] o con-con [constitutional convention]? Tapos pangatlo, kung con-con, e ‘di maliwanag yung eleksyon, kailan?” Pangilinan said.
(If Charter change is timely, should we conduct a con-ass or a con-con and third, if we hold a con-con, when will we elect its members?)
Under a con-con, members of Congress can elect delegates who would introduce amendments and/or revisions to the Constitution.
“Kung con-ass naman, mayroon pang isang isyu na hanggang ngayon hindi pa nareresolba: Ito ba ay dapat voting jointly ang Senate at House. Ibig sabihin ay 300 plus senators and congressmen sabay boboto ng three-fourths vote? O three-fourths vote separately, ibig sabihin three-fourths vote ang Senate, at three-fourths vote ng House,” he added.
(If we convene as a con-ass, there is another issue that should be resolved: Do we vote jointly? Would this mean the 300 plus senators and congressmen will vote jointly for a three-fourths vote? Or do we vote separately? Three-fourths vote from the Senate and another three-fourths vote from the House.)
Under a con-ass, the House and the Senate will convene as one body to propose amendments or revisions to the Constitution.
Among the resource persons who confirmed their attendance for Wednesday’s hearing include legal luminaries and representatives from the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Justice.
A committee of the House of Representatives has already started tackling proposed amendments to several economic provisions under the Constitution.
Its next hearing is set on Tuesday, Jan. 26.
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