House bill on rules and regulations for con-con passes 2nd reading
MANILA, Philippines — Only a day after the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for a constitutional convention (con-con), the bill containing the rules and regulations for the convention was approved on the second reading following some amendments.
House Bill No. 7352 was passed through a voice vote on Tuesday. If enacted, it will be the enabling law to Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6, which called for a con-con to amend the 1987 Constitution. The House of Representatives passed RBH No. 6 on its third and final reading on Monday, March 6.
Prior to its passage in the second reading, Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman figured in a heated debate. Rodriguez was the sponsor of the bill on the House floor.
Lagman questioned the provision referring to the election and appointment of con-con members. Under the bill, those who shall be designated as con-con members should have knowledge of the 1987 Constitution. But Lagman pointed out that some sectors such as fisherfolks may not have finished formal education.
“All of them should read the Constitution, my goodness. They want to become delegates, and don’t know the Constitution? So that is just one of the many standards [that] are here, we have probity, independence, nationalism, patriotism,” said Rodriguez, adding that a voting body will decide on who should be elected to the con-con.
Lagman, however, argued: “The electorate is supreme, but it is also supreme in its errors.”
Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel also questioned the con-con membership, saying its delegates may be prone to political influence.
“Kapag may delegado na nahalal na para maging bahagi ng constitutional convention, pwede pa din siyang maimpluwensyahan, malapitan ng kahit na sinong political party upang maging boses o tagapagdala ng posisyon ng iba’t ibang political party at mabitbit ang posisyon na iyon sa loob ng constitutional convention,” Manuel said.
(If a delegate is elected to be part of the constitutional convention, they can be influenced, approached by any political party to be a voice or carrier of the position of various parties to the constitutional convention.)