The referendum for Constitutional Convention proposed by two senators has been shot down by Senate President Franklin Drilon on Friday, May 8, due to lack of time and budget.
In a radio interview, Drilon said holding a referendum needs money and time which the Aquino administration no longer have.
“Pag nagkaroon ng referendum – ayan po ay sang-ayon sa ating Saligang Batas na magkaroon ng referendum at konsultahin ang taumbayan – unang-una ay kailangan natin ng malaking pera o malaking budget, for a nationwide consultation or referendum. Pangalawa, wala na tayong panahon,” he said.
The Senate leader pointed out that the members of the Congress can already convene the Constitutional Convention without a need for a referendum.
“Kami po ay kinatawan ng taumbayan, at ayon sa Saligang Batas, two-thirds ng buong Kongreso at ng Senado ay puwede nang magpasya at magpatawag ng isang Constitutional Convention kung saan ang isang delegado ay pwedeng ielect sa May 2016,” said Drilon.
On May 5, Senators Teofisto Guingona III and Aquilino Pimentel III filed filed Senate Resolution 1308 urging the members of Congress to submit to the electorate the question of calling for a Constitutional Convention to propose amendments or revisions to the 1987 Constitution.
“Various business organizations and research groups have identified provisions in the 1987 Constitution that need to be revised to address expanding global demands, as well as, economic and political realities,” the resolution stated.
The senators said the radical revision in the constitutional structure is a task better given to a constitutional convention, whose members shall be chosen by the people, rather than to a constituent assembly, composed of members of Congress who currently wield political power,” they said.
“To dispel any doubts that the constitutional reforms are being sought to advance political and economic interests of a chosen few, it would be more prudent, participatory, and democratic to submit to the electorate the question of calling such a constitutional convention,” they said.
They added the “calling of a Constitutional Convention to propose amendments to or revisions of the Constitution is the least divisive and the most transparent, exhaustive, and democratic way of achieving much-needed constitutional reforms.”
They proposed that the election of delegates to a possible Constitutional Convention be done simultaneously with the May 2016 elections “to avoid incurring the added cost of a separate election.”