The growing public preference to Constitutional Convention (Con-con) as the method of amending or revising the Constitution, instead of Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) “reflects the distrust of the people on Congress.”
Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon made the remark on Monday amid the efforts of some leaders in the House of Representatives (HoR) to transform both chambers into Con-Ass to change the Charter.
“Unfortunately, it appears that our people do not trust their legislators with the revision of the Constitution,” Drilon said.
“It says a lot about the level of trust, or the lack of it, our people have on the legislators,” the veteran senator said.
He added, “We could not blame our people if they fear that politicians would only abuse the new Constitution to further their own agendas.”
Under the Constitution, the Constitution can be amended or revise through a constitutional assembly through a vote of three-fourths of all members and through a constitutional convention where the people elect delegates to propose amendments and revisions to the Constitution.
Drilon claimed that most Filipinos and legal luminaries, including three former chief justices of the Supreme Court believe that the best method to amend or revise the Constitution is through Con-Con rather an Con-Ass.
“The emerging consensus among the resource persons during the committee hearings, both in Manila and in the provinces, so far is if the Constitution is to be amended, it must be through constitutional convention,” he said.
Among them are former Chief Justices Hilario Davide, Reynato Puno and Artemio Panganiban; and former Supreme Court Associate Justices Adolfo Azcuna and Eduardo Nachura, who are of the opinion that a Constitutional Convention should be adopted.
Puno heads the consultative body tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to review the Constitution.
Former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel also stated that he considers a Constitutional Convention as the best mode, but if President prefers a Constitutional Assembly, Pimentel said that he “sees no problem as long as public hearings are conducted to ensure participation by the people.”
He also noted that the University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance and the Philippine Center on Islam and Democracy also favor a Constitutional Convention to ensure wider participation.
“The people’s sentiment is that amendments to the Constitutions should be through a con-con. That is on record and Congress should seriously consider our people’s view,” Drilon said.