THE House committee on constitutional amendments voted 32-7 with three abstentions on Wednesday to approve a motion to convene the House into a Constituent Assembly to amend the 1987 Constitution.
The committee led by Rep. Roger Mercado approved the motion of Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia to amend the Constitution, and mainly to shift to a federal system of government from the unitary and presidential form.
Mercado’s panel also formed a technical working group which will consolidate the proposals for the Constituent Assembly, including those of Reps. Albee Benitez and Robert Ace Barbers.
Benitez and Barbers filed their respective resolutions favoring the Constituent Assembly even before President Rodrigo Duterte shifted support to it from a Constitutional Convention as a mode to shift to federalism.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had earlier said the holding of a Constituent Assembly would be cheaper compared to organizing a Constitutional Convention, which would include the election of delegates and a referendum. He said the Constitutional Convention could cost the government between P6 billion and P7 billion and the Constituent Assembly “nothing.”
Under a Constituent Assembly, senators and congressmen will convene to propose amendments to the Charter.
Reps. Lito Atienza and Ruwel Gonzaga said they opposed the Constituent Assembly as the mode of amending the Constitution.