MANILA - Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday filed a resolution calling on the Senate to convene as a constituent assembly (con-ass) that will propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution independently from the House of Representatives.
The House is currently pushing for both houses of Congress to form a constituent assembly and eventually vote jointly on amendments to the charter.
Lacson had said his resolution rejects this set-up, which would render the Senate "voiceless."
“Papayag ba yung Senado na papasok kami sa isang joint session with the lower House, knowing na 24 lang kaming mga senador… Ano pang saysay ng Senado? Wala kaming boses doon, ibig sabihin tatango na lang kami, iiling," he said.
(Will the Senate agree to a joint session with the lower House knowing that there are only 24 senators? What purpose will the Senate have? We will have no voice there. It means we will just nod or shake our heads.)
Under Lacson's Resolution 580, the Senate will convene as a constituent assembly, scrutinize every proposed amendment to the Constitution, and approve the proposal with three-fourths of the vote of the existing 23-man Senate.
The approved amendments will then be referred to the bicameral conference committee for approval and eventual ratification.
The resolution was filed just 2 days before the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes holds a hearing on the Charter change issue.
The committee has invited 51 resource persons to its Wednesday hearing, including 3 former chief justices; former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., members of the academe, and officials of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Earlier this month, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he would like the House and Senate to convene as a constituent assembly to discuss charter change and then form technical working groups thereafter.
Lacson said he hopes the Supreme Court could provide a “declaratory relief” on concerns over whether the House and the Senate should vote jointly or separately on charter change.
With reports from Sherrie Ann Torres and Zandro Ochona, ABS-CBN News