Brosas: Con-con delegates to get P10,000 daily, but no money for aid?
MANILA, Philippines — A House bill calling for a constitutional convention to amend the Constitution wants to give each delegate an allowance of P10,000 daily, and yet there’s no money for financial aid for those suffering from the economic crisis.
Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas raised this point on Monday at the hearing of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments.
She was referring to the contents of the approved committee report, which contains an unnumbered substitute bill.
“In the accompanying bill, it’s stated that P10,000 will be given each day to the delegates of the con-con. That’s almost the minimum wage of a worker in a whole month. So all in all, how much will be spent on this?” Brosas said in Filipino.
“There’s a P10,000 per diem that will be given while there are no funds for citizens seeking aid for their families in the face of rising prices and this crisis,” she added.
The provision for the P10,000 daily allowance for “actual attendance” of the convention is contained in Section 8 of the unnumbered substitute bill.
This means that a delegate present in all five sessions in a single week would get P50,000 for that week.
The same section states that delegates will get “necessary traveling and lodging expenses” from their place of residence to the convention venue and back.
Authority to appoint delegates
Brosas also questioned the authority of the House speaker and the Senate President to appoint delegates who would join the constitutional convention, as stated in the revised consolidated bill
“Where did this power come from? […] No appointing powers were given to the Senate president at House speaker under the current Constitution,” she said.
Brosas was referring to a provision in a similar bill, which if enacted, would implement Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6, which calls for a constitutional convention.
A provision in the substitute bill followed the proposal of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno for Congress to adopt a hybrid constitutional convention, which would have both elected and appointed delegates. This would ensure that political families would not dominate the convention, Puno said.
To ensure fairness, Puno suggested that the head of the legislative branch — not the president who heads the executive — would make the appointments.
Not an economic solution
Brosas also insisted that amending the Constitution would not solve current concerns.
“Mr. Chair, we are firm in our belief that amending or revising the Constitution will not directly address the urgent economic concerns of Filipino women and people,” she said.
“If there’s something we should change, it is not the Constitution but the laws and regulations that go against our nationalist aspirations and the democratic spirit of the 1987 Constitution. We fear that we are repeating a dark side of our history by pushing through with this con-con accompanying bill,” she added.