Ex-solon says Lagman did '180-degree turn' on Cha-cha joint voting

Ex-solon says Lagman did ‘180-degree turn’ on Cha-cha joint voting

/ 06:26 PM January 11, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — A former lawmaker has questioned Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman’s opposition to proposals that the Senate and the House of Representatives jointly vote on matters of constitutional amendments, claiming that he was in favor of it before.

Former Ako Bicol party-list solon Alfredo Garbin Jr. said on Thursday that Lagman strongly advocated for the joint voting of the two legislative chambers during the 18th Congress, back when Garbin headed the House committee on constitutional amendments.

This recent opposition from Lagman, Garbin says, is a 180-degree turn from his previous stance.


“In an apparent 180-degree turn, Manong Edcel is now saying that joint voting of the House and the Senate is not desirable because the House will ‘overwhelm’ the Senate by its superiority in numbers. Why the sudden change of heart? Why is he now opposed to the joint voting of the House and the Senate?” Garbin said in a statement.


“Whatever the reason is, the saying in Albay that being forgetful is a very strong Lagman trait looks to be justified,” he added.

According to Garbin, transcripts of the House panel’s hearing showed that Lagman “referred to the long-established Supreme Court decision on the issue of joint or separate voting in the 1967 case of Gonzales vs Comelec.”

“I would submit that the positions should be consistent with the ruling in the case of Gonzales versus Comelec THAT THE VOTING…SHOULD NOT BE SEPARATE BUT JOINT, joint voting by all members of the constituent assembly. I would like to EMPHASIZE, IT SHOULD BE JOINT, NOT SEPARATE,” Lagman said as relayed and emphasized by Garbin.

Garbin did not mention how he was able to conclude that Lagman is now against the House and the Senate voting jointly, but in one of Lagman’s statements against the current push for charter change, the lawmaker pointed out that the proposed People’s Initiative would result in a “joint voting which would fast track the approval of proposed amendments to the Constitution since the more numerous representatives would overwhelm the senators.”

But Lagman on Thursday said, in response to Garbin, that he has not changed his belief that the Senate and the House should vote jointly if it were to convene as a constituent assembly, tasked to amend the 1987 Constitution.

READ: No need for Cha-cha to spur economy, says lawmaker


The Albay lawmaker clarified that what he is concerned with is that the practice of the People’s Initiative — another method to amend the Constitution — is supposedly being used by the House for its own agenda.

“In the question whether the Constituent Assembly must vote separately by chamber or jointly among the representatives and senators, I am not changing my position that there must be a joint voting because the Members of the Congress are not acting as legislators but as members of a constituent assembly where one member is entitled to one vote individually and not through their respective Houses,” Lagman said.

READ: Lagman, Castro blast airing of TV commercial pushing for Cha-cha 

“What I am decrying are the following aberrations in the call for constitutional amendments via people’s initiative: The people’s initiative has been transformed into a congressional initiative because the gathering of signatures is being conducted by municipal mayors at the behest of the Members of the House,” he claimed.

Lagman also claimed that people are being bribed into joining signature campaigns, accusing the House leadership previously that public funds are being used for the charter change push.

This however was denied by incumbent Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co, who chairs the House committee on appropriations, as the restored budget of the Commission on Elections were borne out of the poll body’s request, and not for charter change.

“The campaign for the petition is marred by signature buying which is in violation of Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code in relation to Section 19 of the Plebiscite and Referendum Act (RA No. 6735) which penalizes the buying and selling of votes,” he said.

“My position is now being echoed by those behind the present people’s initiative campaign to malevolently marginalize the Senators in the Constituent Assembly because the Senate has consistently been the graveyard of proposed constitutional amendments in the past,” he added.


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TAGS: Cha-cha, Lagman

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