Press Release
September 7, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the House of Representatives will violate its own rules if it insists on amending the Constitution through joint voting by the Senate and House.

Pimentel said the House, under the control of administration congressmen led by Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr., will be committing a much graver mistake if it decides to go it alone and proceed to amend the Charter without the participation of the Senate.

Let me remind the members of the House that their own rules say that amendments to the Constitution will be treated like bills. Which means that the amendments will be approved first by the House and then they will be elevated to the Senate. And we can pass the amendments if we want them or block them if do not want them, the minority leader said.

He said the House leaders are resorting to legislative sorcery in claiming that the congressmen can do Charter Change all by themselves by invoking Article 17, section 1 of the Constitution which provides that Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members, may amend the Charter.

Pimentel challenged the legislative allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to explain why they continue to defy the accepted rule that amendments to the Constitution, like ordinary bills and resolutions, must be approved separately by the Senate and House.

It is pretty obvious, according to the senator from Mindanao, that De Venecia and company, in insisting on joint Senate-House voting on all amendments, are bent on ramming down their desired amendments down the throat of the senators no matter how politically self-serving and distasteful they are.

Pimentel also assailed the administration congressmen for railroading the approval of the resolution on Charter Change during Tuesdays meeting of the House committee on constitutional amendments apparently because it contains objectionable provisions that members of the opposition will try to block.

In blatant breach of the principle of transparency and clarity that the administration is fond of invoking, Pimentel said members of the committee, including Makati Rep. Teodoro Locsin, Jr. (chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments and electoral suffrage), were denied their right to read the contents of the resolution before its approval.

Pimentel said the Senate could not allow itself to be an accomplice to the blatant attempt by De Venecia et al to eviscerate the Constitution. We are going to stand up for the rights of our people and do things in accordance with law.

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