Press Release
January 7, 2018

Drilon says senate to insist on separate voting on Cha-cha

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon insisted that the Senate and the House of Representatives should vote separately in case it decides to convert into a constitutional assembly to amend the Constitution.

"No one in the senate will agree to a joint voting. We will insist on separate voting. The Congress can propose amendments to the Constitution using the regular lawmaking procedure," Drilon said.

He said that what happened during the approval of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao should "serve as an example of how senate's power could be reduced to nothing if joint voting is followed."

Drilon, a former justice secretary and four-time Senate President, explained that there are various ways to amend the constitution: by way of a constitutional convention (con-con), a constitutional assembly (con-ass), and even through people's initiative.

Drilon said that pursuant to Article XVII, Section 3 of the Constitution, "Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its members, call a constitutional convention to propose amendments to, or a revision of, the Constitution."

Under the constitutional convention, the members of the convention are elected, he noted.

The Constitution also allows Congress to act as a constitutional assembly to revise the constitution, Drilon said.

Article XVII, Section 1 of the Constitution provides that the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members, may propose any amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution, he cited.

Drilon said that the 1987 Constitution made it no longer necessary that the Senate and the House hold a joint session for the purpose of proposing amendments to the Constitution.

Drilon emphasized that the only requirement of Sec. 1, Article XVII of the Constitution is that three-fourths of the Members of Congress propose such amendment.

The senator said "that amending the constitution would take some time and needs not to be rushed and railroaded."

"I am not against it. What I'm saying is we should exercise extra caution when we talk about amending our constitution," he said.

The senator said he does not think Charter change will be ready for referendum by May 2018 as projected by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

"That's a timeframe too close and improbable. First, we have the impeachment case of Chief Justice Ma.Lourdes Sereno, which, according to reports, would be forwarded to the senate by May 2018. Second, the second half of 2018 is when election fever would take place. How can that timeframe be possible?" Drilon concluded.

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