Law dean fears of constitutional crisis if Cha-cha issues remain unresolved
A law expert on Thursday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to settle the issue on how Congress should vote on Charter change (Cha-cha)—as one body or separate chambers—to avoid a possible constitutional crisis.
In his petition for declaratory relief, Dean Arturo M. de Castro said SC should determine if the votes of the Senate and the House of Representative should be counted separately or jointly to determine the 3/4 majority or not.
Article XVII Section 1 (1) of the 1987 Constitution, provides that “any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members.”
De Castro, current Dean of the College of Criminology and Associate Law Dean and Bar Review Director of the University of Manila, said conflicting interpretations were expressed on the said constitutional provision with House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez taking the literal interpretation.
Earlier, Alvarez was quoted as saying that Congress will proceed as a constituent assembly even without the senators. He said that the Constitution clearly stated that it was “Congress” who has to have three fourth’s vote to amend or revise the charter.
“If the voting should be counted separately, then the House alone may not proceed to propose revisions to the Constitution without the participation of the Senate,” De Castro said.
“Unless the issue is resolved soon, an impending constitutional crisis looms in the horizon that may lead to another People Power revolution and the establishment of a revolutionary government supported by the people,” De Castro said.
He told the high court that “a final and definitive resolution of the constitutional question raised would diffuse tension in the nation that would go a long way to keep and maintain stability in the political system in the Philippines.”
This is the first petition filed at the SC regarding the Congress’ move to amend the Charter. /jpv
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