MANILA - Senators on Friday welcomed the executive branch's move to convene a 19-member consultative commission headed by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno to review the current 1987 Constitution.
The appointment papers of Puno and other legal luminaries were released on Thursday, a day after the Senate and House of Representatives agreed to conduct respective discussions on charter change before convening as one body.
"That is a welcome development and that is part of the executive's effort to review the current constitution. (The) Legislative will have its own mechanisms," Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said in a statement.
"He told us about that last year pa. It can be useful to us," Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said though the output of the Puno Commission will be a "valuable input" for lawmakers, the task to change the charter still lies with the 2-tier legislative branch.
"Amending the Charter is basically a function of the Congress. The need for Cha-cha, the mode of amendment, and related issues are being heard by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments. The work of the Puno Commission will be a valuable input to the Senate. (But) It is best that we await the Committee, and Senate itself, to decide on these issues," Drilon said.
Members of Puno's team include former Senate President Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., San Beda College Graduate School of Law dean Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, former Supreme Court Assoc. Justices Antonio Eduardo Nachura and Bienvenido Reyes, political scientists Julio Teehankee and Edmund Tayao, among others.