Lawmakers continue debate on Charter change

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2014 10:44 PM | Updated as of Sep 03 2014 06:46 AM

MANILA - The House of Representatives in plenary on Tuesday continued to deliberate on Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 (RBH 1) seeking to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

On day 3, Akbayan Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez interpellated Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe on the modality of the amendments.

RBH 1 is being treated like a regular bill that went through committee and now, plenary debates in the House.

A counterpart bill is expected to go through a similar process in the Senate. Like a regular bill, a bicameral conference committee will reconcile any clashing provisions.

Once approved by both houses, the resolution will be sent to the Comelec so the poll body can hold a plebiscite wherein voters can ratify the amendments so it can become effective.

Gutierrez said this doesn't seem like one of the processes mentioned in the Constitution.

The 1987 Constitution specifies that charter amendments may be proposed by a constitutional convention of delegates elected at large, a people's initiative, or a constituent assembly of lawmakers from both houses.

Batocabe, however, said nothing in the Constitution prevents Congress from exercising its constituent power the way it is trying with RBH 1.

There is no requirement for a joint session.

Gutierrez, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello have interpellated.

Another congressman, Fredenil Castro, also manifested his intent to interpellate.

Charter change debates are expected to continue this week.