Speaker enjoined to abandon going solo mode on charter

Published January 24, 2018, 12:36 PM

by Restituto Cayubit

By Mario Casayuran

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian urged House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday to put an end to the House’s efforts to revise the 1987 Constitution without the participation of the 24-member Senate.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

Gatchalian said that constitutional law experts are virtually unanimous in their agreement that the proposed amendments or revisions to the 1987 Constitution under Art. XVII, Sec. 1(1) require both chambers of Congress to convene in a Constituent Assembly.

‘’In simple terms, the House cannot amend the Constitution without the Senate’s consent, and vice versa. Indeed, it would be absurd for one chamber of a bicameral legislature to be able to change the fundamental law of the land without the participation and assent of the other chamber,’’ he said.

‘’Instead of attempting to undermine and bypass the Senate, the leadership of the House should work with the Senate leadership to create an inclusive and constitutionally sound plan to convene the chambers together in a Constituent Assembly,’’ he stressed.

‘’Otherwise, if the House continues down the reckless path it has set upon, their risky experiment in constitutional alchemy will result in an illegitimate draft constitution which will surely be rejected by the people via plebiscite,’’ he added.

Since House-approved bills changing the names of towns or cities require the approval of the Senate, why leave the Senate out in a major issue like amending the Charter, they ask.