Press Release
November 28, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said an attempt by Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. and other administration legislative allies to bribe senators with positions in the proposed unicameral parliament will not save Charter Change from inevitable demise.

Pimentel assailed the mentality of the House speaker and his cohorts in dangling the creation of 36 regional representatives in the envisioned parliament in an apparent bid to persuade the senators to drop their resistance to the convening of a Constituent Assembly where the congressmen and senators will vote jointly on all amendments to the Constitution.

The Senate will not stand for bribery. Speaker Jose de Venecia does not seem to get it through his head that offering benefits to the senators wont get him anywhere, he said.

Pimentel said that if the congressional allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo really want the cooperation of the Senate pursuing constitutional reforms, they should give up their constitutionally flawed stand that the Senate and House should vote collectively, instead of separately on the amendments.

He said their intransigent stand that they can amend the Constitution all by themselves and ignore the Senate betray their determination to pursue a sinister agenda, to perpetuate themselves in power.

According to Pimentel, the administrations gameplan is to form a so-called Interim Parliament, composed of the 236 incumbent congressmen and 23 incumbent senators, to enable the administration to maintain its stranglehold over the legislature.

Pimentel said if the House will pass a resolution on the convening of a Constituent Assembly without Senate participation, that will be immediately elevated to the Supreme Court, which is expected to adjudge the scheme as unconstitutional.

He said it would look like the so-called administrations Plan B for Charter Change will crash on the boulevard of broken dreams.

Pimentel also laughed off the claim of De Venecia and company that they will be able to complete the process of amending the Constitution by shifting from a bicameral-presidential to a unicameral-parliamentary system by Dec. 22 or before adjourns for the Christmas break.

He (De Venecia) probably meant Christmas of 3000 not necessarily Christmas this year because obviously the scheme they are contemplating is not possible. We in the Senate will block it unless it will clearly provide that the amendments will be voted upon separately by the Senate and House, he said.

Pimentel said the senators may agree to amend the Constitution by Constituent Assembly if the mode is in conformity with the Constitution. He said they are for undertaking Charter Change after the May 2007 elections.

News Latest News Feed