Press Release
July 4, 2016

Drilon: Let Con-Con tackle form of government, not Congress

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today said that a change in the form of government will be the major and most important task of the Constitutional convention (Con-con) being eyed to review the Constitution.

But Drilon clarified that there are no limits to the scope of the amendments a Con-con can consider, saying that the convention will have "plenary powers" to review the entire three-decade-old Charter, and not only the form of government.

Drilon earlier filed Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 that calls for a convention to propose amendments to, or revision of, the 1987 Constitution.

Drilon, a lawyer and former justice secretary, said that the Constitution contains no provision that can be used to limit the scope of the amendments a Constitutional convention (Con-con) or a constituent assembly can consider.

Whether through a constitutional convention or constituent assembly, Drilon said that both bodies "would have plenary powers, giving them the authority to review all the provisions of the Constitution."

"?It will be the delegates of the constitutional convention who will decide what form of government we will have after the process, and not anyone or anywhere else," Drilon said.

?"We cannot form a constitutional convention and require them to only talk about changing our government to a federal system," Drilon said. "You cannot impose such limitations."

The Senate chief said that once a Con-con is formed, the candidates for election as Delegate to the Convention will be able to present their stand to the public, whether they are pro-federal or pro-presidential system.

"That is the advantage of having a Con-con to review the Constitution. When we elect our delegates to the convention, the people will vote for them on the basis of where they stand on various issues, including the change in the form of government, as well as issues on the economic provisions of the Constitution," Drilon said.

Under the RBH No. 1, the Delegate to the Convention will be elected on the second Monday of May 2017, in accordance with the provisions of existing elections laws, rules and regulations.

They shall be elected by administrative region based on the number of legislative districts in such region, the resolution said.

The candidates for delegate to the Convention shall have the same qualifications as those required of the members of the House of Representatives.

The resolution also bans candidates to represent or allow them to be represented as being a candidate of any political party or any organization.

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