'Don't put a price tag to charter change,' says Drilon
MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte should not push for a Constituent assembly "Con-ass" as a mode to amend the 1987 Constitution just to cut expenses, Senator Franklin Drilon and a member of the academe said Monday.
Duterte earlier rejected a Con-ass, saying he did not want incumbent legislators to revise the Constitution and pave the way for a shift to a federal form of government.
But House Speaker Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez convinced the President that a Con-ass is "cheaper and faster" compared to a Constitutional Convention (Con-con)composed of elected delegates.
Drilon, now the Senate Pro-Tempore, earlier said that a Con-con will provide a venue for free expression of ideas, and opposed plans for the Constitutional assembly.
"Huwag nating lagyan ng price tag ang ating pagbuo ng Saligang Batas... Ang kinabukasan po natin ay dapat walang price tag," he said.
WHY NOT APPOINT?
Meanwhile, San Beda Graduate School of Law Dean Fr. Ranhilio Aquino said there are ways by which government can minimize costs in the Con-con mode.
Instead of holding elections to choose Con-con delegates, Aquino said Duterte can simply appoint the members of the convention.
He also argued that speeding up the process of the Charter review through Con-ass should not be the government's goal.
"I'm not concvinced sa dahilang binibigay nila na dapat Con-ass na lang kasi mas madali. Kung ang pagbabago ng Saligang Batas ang pinag-uusapan, hindi minamadali iyan because that is something that's going to be with us for many years to come," he said.
Aquino said the Con-ass may also be used by sitting lawmakers to advance their self interests.
"Walang limitasyon kung anong parte ang dapat palitan so they can change anything there," he said.
"Kung gusto natin talaga na may mga bagong probisyon, hindi natin maasahan na iyung mga kongresista ay sila mismo ang magsusulat kasi maraming pagbabago diyan ay labag sa kagustuhan nila."
DZMM TeleRadyo, 1 August 2016
'Con-ass' self-serving? Palace says no