Senate, House ‘word war’ on Cha-cha just ‘for fun’ – Alvarez
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez maintained on Thursday that there was no animosity between the House of Representatives and the Senate despite the “word war” that ensued amid the two chambers’ differing positions on the manner of voting on Charter change (Cha-cha).
The verbal tussle, Alvarez said, was for mere entertainment.
“Actually, ‘yung word war para sa media ‘yun, para naman medyo masaya tayo,” Alvarez said in a statement.
(Actually, the word war was just for the media, so that we would all have fun.)
The Speaker drew flak from his fellow lawmakers for threatening his colleagues at the House that they would get “zero-budget” for their districts if they would refuse to support President Rodrigo Duterte’s federalism initiative.
Alvarez also earned the ire of senators for insisting that Congress, convened as a Constituent assembly (Con-ass), would push through with Cha-cha even without the Senate, claiming that House members alone could achieve the “three-fourths vote” required to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution.
Alvarez said that congressional leaders have agreed on Wednesday night to set aside their contentious issues on Cha-cha and to instead try to first reach a consensus on the general features of the proposed federal government.
“Napagkasunduan namin na saka na lang namin pag-uusapan kung papano ang botohan. Mag-uusap muna kami sa detalye, halimbawa ‘yung structure nung government, hanggang mabuo namin ‘yung Saligang Batas,” Alvarez said.
(We have agreed that we will talk about the voting process next time. We will talk about the details, for example, the structure of the government, until we will be able to form the Constitution.)
“Pagkatapos, kapag naman natapos kami ay (When we’re done), it will not make any difference anymore if we vote separately or jointly,” he added.
As much as possible, Alvarez said the leadership of the two chambers would strive to reach an agreement on contentious issues to avert the need for the Supreme Court to intervene, which would only delay the process of Cha-cha.
“Hangga’t maari ay iiwasan,” Alvarez said. (We will avoid it as much as possible.) /kga
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