Cha-cha hearings to push through pending Senate rules review

Cha-cha hearings to push through pending Senate rules review

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 10:12 AM February 29, 2024

Cha-cha hearings to push through pending Senate rules review


MANILA, Philippines — A Senate panel tasked to tackle changes to the 1987 Constitution will push through with its hearings despite earlier concerns raised by Senator Chiz Escudero.

Unlike the House of Representatives, Escudero said the Senate does not have a clear set of guidelines on amending the Constitution.


He then cautioned his colleagues against proceeding with the future hearings on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 being conducted by the Senate subcommittee on constitutional amendments.


READ: Escudero: Clarify ‘rules of the Senate’ on adoption of Cha-cha proposals

The subcommittee, however, decided to push through with the scheduled hearing on March 5.

“No, we agreed to proceed with hearings but to wait for the rules before filing the committee report,” panel chairman Senator Angara said in a message to reporters Wednesday night when asked if he would suspend the hearing next week.

As to the process of amending the Constitution, the senator pointed to the committee on rules being headed by Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva.

According to Angara, the rules committee will study and “craft any necessary rule or amendment to the rules that is needed.”

“These rules will specify the process to be followed in the reporting out of the subcommittee report and other necessary rules,” he pointed out.


Taking the Senate floor on Wednesday, Escudero reiterated a “prejudicial question” earlier raised by opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on whether constitutional changes should be approved jointly or separately by the two chambers of  Congress.

While the Senate has already started its hearings on RBH No. 6, the House of Representatives also initiated its proceedings on Resolution of Both Houses No. 7.

RBH No. 7 has been described as a mirror image of the Senate’s RBH No. 6, though the two measures differ on the wording as to how Congress should vote on constitutional changes.

Escudero noted that the House’s rules specifically provide how they should amend the Constitution.

Section 143 of House’s Rule XXI, he said, states that “the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths (3/4) of all its Members, may propose amendment(s) to or revision of the Constitution.”

Section 144 of the same provision, meanwhile, prescribes that “Proposals to amend or revise the Constitution shall be by resolution which may be filed at any time by any Member. The adoption of resolutions proposing amendments to or revision of the Constitution shall follow the procedure for the enactment of bills.

“Mr. President, I raised this because we do not have a counterpart or similar rule and right now as things stand, the House it seemed has a rule on how to adopt proposals or reject proposals on how to amend the Constitution while the Senate,” Escudero said.

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“If, for example, we follow or take the position that there has to be a joint session and that separate sessions are not allowed, then clearly, we are wasting our time,” he added.

TAGS: Cha-cha, Senate

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