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Solo flight! House to amend Constitution without Senate

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Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Wednesday the House of Representatives could still propose amendments to the Constitution even without the participation of the Senate.

Alvarez made the remark in response to Senate President Vicente Sotto’s statement that Charter change (Cha-cha) is not included in the priority legislation of the upper chamber.

“Basta kami nasa priority namin (For our part, [Cha-cha] is included in the [House’s] priority),” Alvarez said.

He reiterated his position that the 1987 Constitution does not explicitly call for a constituent assembly to be convened, for so long as the required three-fourths vote is met, the proposed amendments to the Charter may be considered.

“Basahin mo paulit-ulit yung Constitution. Wala namang sinasabing magko-convene kami into a constituent assembly. Three-fourth votes of all its members, yun lang ang nakalagay (Read the Constitution repeatedly. It does not say anything about convening into a constituent assembly. Only a three-fourth vote of all its members was specified),” Alvarez said.

He was referring to Sec. 1, Art. VII of the Constitution, which states that Congress, “by a vote of three-fourths of all its members, may amend or revise the Constitution.”

“Mas gugustuhin namin na kasama sila pero nga kung ayaw nila, e di we will proceed with the proposal to the people (We would prefer if they join us, but if they don’t want to, then we will proceed with the proposal to the people),” he said.

Alvarez said at the end of the day, it is the Filipino people who will decide on the proposed Charter amendments.

“Proposal lang ito to the people, for the people to agree. So para maging valid yung revision or amendment, kinakailangan taumbayan ang mag-approve (This is just a proposal to the people, for the people to agree. For the revision or amendment to be valid, it must have the public’s approval),” he said.

Alvarez formally received the draft Federal Constitution prepared by the 22-member Consultative Committee (ConCom), which was handed to him personally by its chairman, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

The Speaker said the lower chamber will start studying the draft Federal Charter. (PNA)