Senators, Marcoleta trade barbs at hearing over Charter change

‘House can’t force con-ass’: Senators, Marcoleta trade barbs at hearing

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 01:38 PM January 30, 2024

Senators trade barbs with a congressman over charter change

The Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation starts its probe into a signature drive for Charter change (Cha-cha) on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. The controversial campaign is being done through a supposed people’s initiative. Also on Tuesday, Senators traded barbs with Sagip Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta over Cha-cha. Morcoso

MANILA, Philippines — Senators traded barbs with a congressman who faced a Senate hearing on the controversial Charter change (Cha-cha) bid via people’s initiative (PI) on Tuesday.

Led by Senator Imee Marcos, the Senate committee on electoral reforms began its investigation of controversies hounding the  Cha-cha signature drive.


But during the hearing, Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta mentioned the Senate’s repeated refusal to meet with the House of Representatives through a constituent assembly (con-ass).


The Constitution provides three modes of amending its provisions: PI, con-ass, and constitutional convention or con-con.

For the longest time, however,  Marcoleta said the House’s invitations to the Senate to convene the con-ass always fell on deaf ears.

“Kahit kelan po hindi natin magagamit ‘yung isang modality to change the Constitution which is the constituent assembly. Every time an invitation is issued to the Senate by the Hosue, ang answer po – deadma,” he lamented.

(We will never be able to use that one modality to change the Constitution, which is the constituent assembly. Whenever an invitation is issued to the Senate by the House, the response is – ignored.)

READ: Senate manifesto nixes people’s initiative, warns of no-el scenario


“So kelan po natin gagamitin ang (So when are we gong to use the) constituent assembly? We cannot. It’s impossible…” the lawmaker also said.

He noted how the Senate would always ask for a condition that voting to any amendments to the 1987 Constitution should be done separately by the two chambers of Congress.

“Alam ‘nyo po ang pinag-uusapan, mag-meet lang po tayo. Saka na po natin paguusapan kung ‘yung  three-fourth is voting separately or not,” Marcoleta pointed out

(You know what we’re talking about, let’s just meet. Then, we will discuss whether the three-fourths are voting separately.)

Senate Minority Leader  Aquilino  “Koko” Pimentel agreed with Marcoleta’s observation.

“But that can’t be forced,” Pimentel stressed, referring to the con-ass proposal of the House.

“If the Senate does not want to amend the Constitution through a con-ass, the House can’t force it. As simple as that,” he said.

When Marcoleta said, “No one is forcing,” Pimentel then answered, “There should  be no complaints (because) we are two autonomous bodies.”

“ Ayaw nung isa makinig sa con-ass ,” the senator  pointed out.

(The other one doesn’t want to listen to the con-ass)

Sen. Marcos had to remind Marcoleta that the issue was the subject of another hearing.

“Right now, I can see all my colleagues jumping out of their seats to contradict that, but let’s not hijack this hearing…” she said.

Before this, Marcoleta questioned why the witnesses in the hearing were wearing hoodies, face masks, and sunglasses to conceal their identities.

“If they are brave witnesses, bakit po sila nakamaskara (why are they wearing face masks)?” the  lawmaker asked.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri explained that the Senate rules allow  protection of witnesses appearing in congressional hearings.

“Sa aking pananaw wala pong violation kung sila po ay nagtatago lang ng mukha nila dahil naka livestream po ito sa buong  bansa. Ayaw din nilang ma-expose ang kanilang sarili,” Zubiri said.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

(I believe there is no violation if they hide their faces because it is livestreamed nationwide. They also don’t want to expose themselves.)

“I think we have to give them that right and we’ve been practicing that here in the Senate,” the Senate chief added.

TAGS: 1987 Constitution, charter change, House of Representatives, Politics, Senate

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.