MANILA – The House of Representatives has called for the formation of a constituent assembly (con-ass) to propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution which would pave the way for a shift to a federal form of government.
The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments approved the concurrent resolution for the 17th Congress to form the con-ass, after 32 members voted in favor of the move on Wednesday. Seven voted against the measure, while three abstained from voting.
The hearing was marked by intense debate stemming from Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia's move for the approval of a concurrent resolution, though there were no incidents resembling the near-fistfight last week between Congressmen Ace Barbers and Prospero Pichay.
Garcia said that she sponsored the resolution calling on the formation of a con-ass, because they supposedly previously arrived at a general consensus to propose such a motion.
Representative Jose Atienza had tried to block the vote, as he said he wanted to appeal to all the members of the committee to "relax and go slow" on Constitutional amendment, and give them all a chance to study the proposal before voting.
However, the vote proceeded as Garcia said there might be consequences later on if they form a draft Constitution but do not discuss whether the Senate and House of Representatives will be voting separately or jointly regarding it.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas' recommendation for the House to adopt a substitute resolution calling for a con-ass, and all authors who filed similar resolutions to be named as co-authors was approved.
However, Representative Kaka Bag-ao, who wished for a Constitutional convention (con-con), said that a con-con would have been the "most democratic and representative process" in amending the Constitution.