Congress must vote separately to amend, revise 1987 Constitution – Davide
Former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. echoed the position of constitutionalist Father Joaquin Bernas that Congress should vote separately when voting on any amendments or revisions to the 1987 Constitution.
At a joint hearing at the Senate on the controversial Charter change (Cha-cha), Davide pointed out a provision in the Constitution which states that any amendments to or revisions may be proposed either by Congress upon a vote of three-fourths vote of all its members and through Constitutional Convention (Con-Con).
“Note should immediately be taken of the fact that the section does not state when acting as a Constituent Assembly, the Congress should be in a joint or separate session,” he said.
Davide then cited Bernas’ pronouncements and book on the 1987 Constitution.
In the book, Davide said Bernas noted that the provision in the Charter says nothing about a joint session.
“It’s submitted that each house may separately formulate amendments by a vote of three-fourths of all its members then pass it onto the other house for a similar process. Disagreements can be settled through a conference committee,” the former Chief Justice said still quoting Bernas’ book.
While Congress may decide to come together in joint session, Davide said the two chambers – the Senate and the House of Representatives – must vote separately.
“Since the Constitution is silent about the method…Congress should be free to choose which ever method it prefers,” he said.
“It is also submitted, however, that what is essential is that both houses vote separately. This is because the power to propose amendments is given not to a unicameral body but to a bicameral body.”
“I fully agree with Father Bernas,” Davide added. /kga
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