Alvarez: Cha-Cha process under way without Senate
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has declared that the House of Representatives is now in the process of amending the Constitution for the electorate’s approval—even without the Senate’s participation.
Alvarez made the announcement in a press briefing on Monday afternoon, hours after denying in a television interview that the chamber was rushing Charter change (Cha-cha) to pave the way for a federal-parliamentary system of government.
Responding to a reporter’s question on whether “the House of Representatives is in the process of amending the Constitution,” Alvarez said: “Correct.”
“We have started already. Because, we’re going to make a proposal to the people to revise the Constitution,” he said in the briefing.
While the 23-member Senate has questioned whether it should convene together with the 292-member House, Alvarez said he expected the Commission on Elections to hold a plebiscite even if only the lower chamber drew up the new Constitution.
Alvarez stressed that Section 1, Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution did not explicitly state the need for a constituent assembly (Con-ass).
Even without the Senate, he said the House could meet the requirement for the votes of “three-fourths of all members” of the bicameral Congress.
“What assembly? Where in the Constitution is that stated?” Alvarez said. “Where in the Constitution did it say we have to convene?”
“We don’t have to talk about a Con-ass anymore. We just have to comply with the three-fourth votes of all members. For our part, we will send this to the people [for a vote],” he added. —VINCE F. NONATO