Speaker eyes meeting with senators amid Cha-cha vote dispute

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2018 09:48 AM | Updated as of Jan 18 2018 10:01 AM

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez speaks in a press conference at the House of Representatives, December 12 2017. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday said he will invite senators to a meeting next week amid a dispute on whether the 2 chamber of Congress should vote jointly or separately during the process of changing the Constitution.

The House has adopted a resolution for both chambers to form a constituent assembly and eventually vote jointly on amendments to the charter, paving the way for a shift to a federal form of government.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, however, has filed a resolution calling on the Senate to propose amendments independently from congressmen.

"Siguro by next week magpupulong kami. Kailangan kasi we have to agree first sa structure nung gobyerno," Alvarez said.

"Kasi pag nag-agree na tayo kung ano ang istraktura, everything else follows. Wala na hong problema, mabilis na po iyun, madali na po iyun," he added.

(We will probably meet next week. We need to agree first on the structure of the government. Once we agree on structure, everything else follows. There will be no more problems, it will be quick and easy.)

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In the meantime, the House will continue holding hearings on how to best amend the Constitution, and insist on a joint voting by lawmakers.

"Malinaw ang titik ng ating Saligang Batas na nakalagay doon na Congress, by a vote of three-fourths of all its members, may amend or revise the Constitution," he said. "Malinaw na malinaw ang provision na iyun at wala na pong room for interpretation."

(The letter of our Constitution clearly states that Congress, by a vote of three-fourths of all its members, may amend or revise the Constitution.That provision is very clear and leaves no room for interpretation.)

The Supreme Court, he said, can resolve the disagreement on voting if lawmakers fail to do so by themselves.