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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Another measure filed to support Charter change

By Maricel V. Cruz

There’s no stopping lawmakers’ efforts to review the 1987 Constitution in the House of Representatives.

Cagayan de Oro City Rufus Rodriguez on Tuesday sponsored House Bill (HB) 7352, or the proposed Act implementing Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 which provides for the creation of a hybrid constitutional convention (con-con) to effect the Charter Change.

HB 7352 is the accompanying bill to Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 6 which calls for the convening of Congress into a Constitutional Convention to rewrite just the economic provisions of the Constitution that were approved on the second reading on Tuesday night.

In his sponsorship speech, Rodriguez, chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments, presented the committee report of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments on HB 7352.

Rodriguez maintained that Charter Change efforts at the lower house is merely focused on amending the restrictive economic provisions of the existing Charter.

He also thanked his fellow legislators for supporting his committee’s mandate to get the people’s pulse on proposed Charter change that had been pushed in the past Congresses.

“I thank you for all your resolve and steadfastness in taking the position of not only fulfilling the mandate of Congress but of being patriotic citizens on doing our part towards economic development,” Rodriguez told the plenary, referring to RBH No.6’s adoption on second reading.

He also defended the con-con route to effect the constitutional amendments, calling it “the most trusted mode.”

He said the con-con is “highly favored being the most democratic, transparent, and inclusive of all modes.”

“The election of delegates and the appointment of experts and sectoral representatives, along with constitutionalists and experts will ensure the balance of views and the quality of the proposals of the convention,” Rodriguez added.

He said the con-con will be composed of 251 elected delegates and 63 appointed delegates, for a total of 314. The previous figure prior to the drafting of  HB 7352 was 304 (253 elected, 51 appointed).

Northern Samar Rep. Paul Ruiz Daza meanwhile questioned the hybrid con-con vis a vis the more “practical, expedient, and transparent” constitutional assembly (Con-Ass).

Daza pointed out that a Con-Ass is more aligned to the House constitutional amendments committee’s explicit objective to revise key economic provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. He also warned how a con-con is a “free for all” which opens up the possibility of a complete Constitutional overhaul.

Meanwhile, assistant minority leader and Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said ongoing efforts at the lower Hlhouse to revise the 1987 Constitution is the “most insidious and most dangerous Charter change (Chacha) ever.”

He also threatened that various women’s groups will rise in protest in the coming days to block the impending passage of measures seeking a Constitutional Convention (ConCon).

“This is the most insidious at dangerous Chacha ever,” said Brosas. “But Filipino women will not stand idly as they railroad the measure seeking to rewrite the rules in favor of those in power. Women’s groups are determined to block this measure and stage various forms of protest, especially this Women’s Month,” she added.

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