Press Release
January 24, 2018


Senator Chiz Escudero has said that the House of Representatives' position that it could proceed with the convening of Congress into a constituent assembly to revise the Constitution without the Senate contravenes the basis for such move.

Congress has adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 seeking to convene Congress into a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution.

"The title in itself, 'concurrent resolution', is already an admission that any proposal or move to amend the Constitution necessitates the separate votes of both houses of Congress," Escudero explained.

"Before we even get to the question of voting jointly or separately, sa pagpasa pa lamang ng concurrent resolution na nagpapatawag tungkol dito, maliwanag na sa titulo pa lamang na 'concurrent resolution' na questionable na yung magiging basehan ng anumang pagpapatuloy sa anumang usapin kaugnay sa pagpapalit ng Saligang Batas na hindi inaaprubahan din ng Senado yung basehan ng pag-convene nila. Magkahiwalay talaga iyon--ipasa ng Senado at Kamara at hindi pwedeng brasuhin ng isa lamang," he added.

"Hindi kailanman sa anumang mundo at sa anumang panahon pwedeng pwersahin ng Kamara ang Senado gawin ang isang bagay na ayaw gawin ng Senado at yung kabaligtaran naman ay totoo rin. Hindi rin naming pwedeng pwersahin ang Kamara sa ayaw nila," Escudero stressed.

Quoting former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the senator said the Supreme Court cannot intervene in this matter. "Itinuturing na political question ang galaw o hindi paggalaw, pagpasya o pagboto kontra o pabor ng Kamara o Senado sa isang panukala, maging simpleng pagpapalit man ng pangalan ng kalye o maging sa mabigat na usapin ng Con-Ass or Con-con."

Escudero also bucks talks of any referendum on Charter change simultaneous with the barangay elections on May 14 or even in the 2019 elections, saying there is no fund for any plebiscite for 2018.

"There is no way to hold that together with the 2018 elections because it does not come without a cost and given the very little time to prepare for it, that plan is already down the drain," Escudero said.

This can only be funded through a request for supplemental budget that must conform with the Supreme Court ruling on the use of savings.

Any budget request, he added, must be approved by the two chambers of Congress, and any realignment of fund must not exceed the original allocation for the item needing supplemental budget.

He added that any plan to hold it in 2019 must be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA), which must also be approved by the Senate. "I have no idea if the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) will include that in their 2019 budget proposal. We will see the administration's intention regarding this matter based on the budget they will submit for 2019."

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