By Billy Begas
House Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. said the House of Representatives could finish deliberations on the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution this month.
Garbin said that as of Monday, only 12 congressmen have expressed intentions to interpellate on Resolution of Both Houses no. 2, the measure seeking to amend the restrictive provision of the Constitution.
He made the statement after Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco said that the House might approve RBH2 in May.
“Kinausap ko kahapon si Speaker and then nilatag ko sa kanya ‘yong legislative calendar and then considering na 12 pa lang yata ‘yong nag-manifest to profound questions or to interpellate, sumali sa debate, sinabi ko sa kanya, paano Speaker kung matapos by March 24 kasi if we will allow Tuesday and Wednesday to be, to allow debates for RBH2, baka matapos nga,” said Garbin.
Velasco supposedly replied: “then so be it”.
Garbin said Velasco only floated the approval in May to give an impression that anyone is free to participate in the debate.
“Kung maraming magtatanong at aabutin hanggang May, di hanggang may tayo. Pero kung tapos na yung debate sa plenaryo ay pwedeng na rin ‘yong March. So ‘yon ‘yong options niya na sinasabi. ayaw niya lang daw na may masabi ‘yong iba na dine-deprive niya ‘yong iba na makapag-participate sa debate,” Garbin added.
Garbin said it is not surprising that RBH 2 is not included in the priority of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) since it is not a legislation but an exercise of a constituent power of Congress.
He added that Malacañang cannot even certify the passage of RBH 2 as urgent.
“This is an exercise of a constituent power. And this is fully addressed to the Filipino people whether they will reject it or ratify it in a plebiscite called for that purpose,” he explained.
Garbin is optimistic that the Senate will act on the measure that is purely amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution.