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Alvarez: Why should vote of senators weigh more than congressmen in Cha-cha?

Alvarez: Why should vote of senators weigh more than congressmen in Cha-cha?

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House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he respects the view of the Senate that the two legislative houses should vote separately in introducing changes to the Constitution and shifting to a federal form of government via a constituent assembly (Con-ass).

But he insisted that Congress should vote jointly upon convening as a single Con-ass to meet the constitutional requirement of a three-fourths vote of Congress to amend or revise the 30-year-old Charter.

“Ginagalang ko ‘yong paniniwala nilang separate voting. Ang aking paniniwala ay voting jointly kasi malinaw naman ang titik ng ating Saligang Batas na three-fourths of all the members of Congress, so pare-pareho kami ng boto,” Alvarez said in a radio interview.

The 1987 Constitution is silent on whether Congress should vote jointly or separately in introducing changes to the Charter. But senators and some legal experts believe the two Houses should vote separately.

A joint vote would render the vote of the Senate useless as they only have 24 seats while the House has 293 members.

But Alvarez said separate voting would mean each senator’s vote would be equivalent to the vote of many congressmen.

“We are the nearest link doon sa mga tao. Bakit naman magkakaroon ng mas mabigat na boto ang mga senador kaysa mga congressman? Kung tutuusin, pantay-pantay ang boto,” he said.

The Speaker said the Constitution clearly states as the requirement “three-fourths of all members of Congress.”

“Hindi naman sinabing voting separately,” he said.