IBP: Congress must vote separately, form Con-con to change Constitution
Major revisions to the 1987 Constitution must be deliberated and concurred through a “more circumspect” Constitutional convention (Con-con) and not by an “overweening” Constituent assembly (Con-ass), the board of governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said on Saturday.
IBP national president Abdiel Dan Elijah Fajardo pointed out the “rigid” nature of the nation’s Charter in order to ensure that stability of power in government would remain.
“Ours is a rigid Constitution, made so as a protection against firebrand changes – and major revisions designed to substantially alter the balance of power in government must be proposed by a more circumspect Constitutional Convention and not by an overweening Constituent Assembly,” Fajardo said in a statement.
Moreover, the IBP echoed calls for Congress to vote separately on Charter change (Cha-cha).
These positions of the IBP were in response to a formal query of the Senate on proposals to amend the Constitution.
“Also, a proposed revision must be set forth by the two houses of Congress voting separately, in keeping with the deliberative nature of our bilateral legislative body,” Fajardo stressed.
The IBP’s stand on the raging Cha-cha issue would seem to bolster the position of even former Chief justices of the Supreme Court who recognized the formation of a Con-con over Con-ass to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution, as well as the importance of Congress voting separately on the matter.
While Fajardo acknowledged that the Constitution was “ambiguous” on the process of Cha-cha, he nevertheless noted that it was “clear” on the separation of the two assemblies to ensure the check and balance between the two houses of Congress.
“The Constitutional text providing for the process is ambiguous on account of the retention of the corresponding provision under the 1973 Constitution which was made suitable to a unicameral legislative body,” Fajardo explained.
“To us it is clear, however, that the intent behind bicameralism continues to be check and balance between the two houses, so designed for the enactment of better laws,” he said. /kga