House panel eyes submitting new charter in May

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 15 2018 06:01 PM

MANILA - The House committee on constitutional amendments is confident that provisions of a new charter will be submitted to a plebiscite together with the barangay elections this coming May. 

Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, chair of the committee, said Monday they will still push for a constituent assembly with both houses of the Congress voting jointly.

"Tomorrow, the committee on constitutional amendments will meet [at] Belmonte Hall at 9:30 am to determine already the provisions that we need to further give more time, intelligent discussion, during the convention of the constituent assembly proper," he said.

Mercado said his committee subdivided the work on the 18 articles of the Constitution into four sub-committees. All recommendations, including that of PDP-Laban and the lawmakers will be discussed. 

The lawmaker said they will prioritize the provisions on federalism, the economy, agriculture and environmental protection in their deliberations. 

Meracdo insists that the language of the Constitution is clear when it comes to Congress voting jointly in a constituent assembly -- a proposal from the House that senators oppose. 

He said they prefer a constituent assembly in revising the charter because it will only cost the government around P204 million compared to the P11 billion needed for a constitutional convention. 

"Constituent assembly is represented by elected officials of our country that will bring voice of people. And through the experiences, from 30 years ago up to now, we will determine the things that we need to put in the constitution para magpatuloy na ating pag-progress," said Mercado.