THE House of Representatives may take up to three years to come up with a new constitution but Majority Leader Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte believes a Constituent Assembly is still the most representative mode to craft a new charter.
Fariñas admitted that crafting a new charter is a gargantuan task and may even force the 17th Congress to place the task of legislating new laws in the back-burner.
“The legislation may stop because we are revising the Constitution,” Fariñas told reporters, adding that some measures, like a new death penalty law, may even be swept aside while Congress is considering a new constitution.
But he said the Lower House can still attend to the most important measures. “We can attend to it, sa every other week. Legislative power then constituent power,” Fariñas explained.
He said the House and the Senate are scheduled to hold a caucus Tuesday next week to discuss whether congressmen and senators would be voting separately and jointly when Congress convenes into a Constituent Assembly.
But he assured the public that Congress will not railroad any provision and that every member of the 293-man chamber will be given the chance to give their inputs during the debates on Charter change.
“For everything we do, we will need 219 votes. But for an ordinary law, we only need a majority,” Fariñas explained.
“We will vote on it then we will submit it to the people. Con-Ass is the best guarantee of protection for the people from vested interests. Why? Because we have to come up with something acceptable to them. Otherwise, the people will reject it. We will just waste time,” he said.
“We have to consult. We will listen to the people. We will not do anything that will not be voted upon by our people. We will be better representatives because we know our constituencies,” Fariñas said.
“Whatever we do, we will submit it to the will of the people. What we will do is not final. There will be a lot of debates before it is presented to the people. The best way to do it is through Con-Ass,” Fariñas stressed.