Draft resolution indicating House, Senate convened as Con-Ass to vote separately

Published August 5, 2018, 7:29 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

As it is set to jumpstart the deliberations on the Consultative Committee’s draft Federal Charter on Tuesday, the House committee on constitutional amendments has been directed to draft and pass a new concurrent resolution specifically indicating that the House of Representatives and the Senate, convened as Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), will be voting separately on the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri gives his opening statement as House Majority Leader REp. Rodolfo Fariñas listens during the start of the bicameral committee conference on the conflicting provisions of the Senate and House versions of the proposed BBL at the Crowne Plaza in Ortigas, Pasig City, July 9 2018. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri gives his opening statement as House Majority Leader Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas listens during the start of the bicameral committee conference on the conflicting provisions of the Senate and House versions of the proposed BBL at the Crowne Plaza in Ortigas, Pasig City, July 9 2018. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)

Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, newly named chairman of the House panel, said Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo instructed them “to change” the House Concurrent Resolution No. 9, which was passed by the chamber linJanuary to allay the concerns of the senators and to end the impasse with the Senate.

“I set the matter for deliberations itong Tuesday. Meron na tayong consultative meeting with the so-called (former Chief Justice Reynato) Puno committee. Then pag-uusapan namin initially kung ano ang framework nitong tinatawag na presidential federal form of government natin,” he disclosed in a radio interview.

“Then there’s instruction from the Speaker to change the concurrent resolution which was passed last time,” Veloso said.

House Concurrent Resolution No. 09, which was adopted by the Lower Chamber via viva voce voting on January 16, 2018, does not provide the manner of voting. It only provides that Congress shall be constituted as a Con-Ass “for the purpose of proposing amendments to, or revising of the 1987 Constitution.”

Veloso said they will withdraw the House Concurrent Resolution No. 09 and pass another resolution.

“Kasi may mga pagdududa ang Senado. Like yong away about voting separately vs voting jointly. So doon sa concurrent resolution, ilalagay na talaga that both Houses would be voting separately,” he said.

In a media interview in Pampanga on Wednesday, Arroyo said the Lower Chamber “agreed to separate voting.”

“We want to move forward. You want to move forward, you have to be realistic. Better to move forward and achieve something than to be very stubborn and achieve nothing,” she said, noting that she ended her presidency with the same stalemate.

Veloso said the no election (no-el) scenario is a “misnomer,” as they are targeting to finish the Con-Ass deliberations “within two months” before the filing of certificate of candidacy (CoC).

“We’ll be coming up with a formula na tuloy ang election and then sana, both houses should work on the revised Constitution, he said.

When asked if the both houses of Congress, convened as Con-Ass, can amend the Constitution and hold the plebiscite alongside with the 2019 midterm poll, Veloso said, “To me, in two months tapos ito. Kasi gusto ko pa din na by the time we’ll be filing our certificates of candidacy, tapos na kami.”

He said the ConCom’s draft Charter, which was submitted to the Lower Chamber on July 1, serves as their “working draft.”

He said should stalemate arises between the two houses of Congress, “then the 1987 Constitution will prevail.”

“Let’s face it, kahit pa 10 months ang ilagay mo dyan na timetable, kung ayaw nila ay ayaw nila. Ang point ko lang is at least natapos namin yong trabaho namin,” Veloso said.

“Makikita mo naman yong takbo kung talagang ayaw nila. This is a priority legislation ng Presidente. Now there are just things that are already beyond us. Yong how to let the senate cooperate, wala na sa amin yan,” he said.

In a media interview in Pampanga on Wednesday, Arroyo said the Lower Chamber “agreed to separate voting.”

“We want to move forward. You want to move forward, you have to be realistic. Better to move forward and achieve something than to be very stubborn and achieve nothing,” she said.

She noted that she ended her presidency with the same stalemate. “You remember we have the same stalemate on voting separately and voting together and a few years later, we are in the same stalemate,” Arroyo said.

During his State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Duterte expressed confidence that people will “stand behind” his administration’s initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution.

He also stressed that he has no intention to extend his term beyond 2022.

 
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