MANILA — A House of Representatives panel on Monday approved a committee report and substitute bill on the proposed congressional call for a convention to amend the 1987 Constitution.
Voting 17-2, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments green-lighted the call for a constitutional convention (con-con).
With the approval, the panel will submit the bill to the Committee on Appropriations to create its funding provisions.
The bill was meant to accompany a joint resolution by the House and Senate calling for a con-con. As of writing, the measure was still pending before the House plenary after it was approved on the committee level.
Among the amendments in the approved resolution is a provision allowing the Senate President and House Speaker to appoint sectoral representatives to the con-con, comprising 20 percent of the convention's membership.
With this, the judiciary, academe, legal profession, science and technology, labor, business, urban poor, and other sectors would have representation in the convention, as long as they belonged to the basic sectors prescribed by law.
Delegates, whether appointed or elected, must be college graduates.
The election of convention delegates would coincide with the Oct. 30, 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections; they would hold office from Nov. 21 to June 30, 2024.
Panel chairperson Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the con-con's expenses were pegged at P5 billion, on top of the P1.5 billion needed to conduct the elections.
But Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas opposed the move, fearing that history may be repeating itself.
"We fear that we are repeating a dark side of our history by pushing through with this con-con accompanying bill," Brosas said.
"We are firm in our belief that amending or revising the Constitution will not directly address the urgent economic concerns of Filipino women and people. Kung may kailangang baguhin ngayon, hindi ang Konstitusyon kundi ang mga batas at patakaran na taliwas sa nationalist aspirations at demokratikong diwa ng 1987 Constitution," she added.
Prior to the final vote, Brosas drew parallelisms between the current push for charter change and the convention that led to the 1973 Constitution under former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
She also slammed the proposal to empower the leaders of Congress to appoint the sectoral delegates, as well as the P5-billion cost of the con-con.
"Sa accompanying bill, nakasaad na P10,000 ang ibibgay sa kada araw na lalahok ang delegado ng ConCon. Halos minimum wage na ito ng isang manggagawa sa isang buong buwan. Sa suma total, magkano ang gagastusin dito? May P10k per diem na ibibigay habang walang pondo sa mga mamamayang nanawagan ng ayuda para sa buong pamilya nila sa gitna ng mataas na presyo at krisis," Brosas said.
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