Congress, not President, has say on changing Charter: Drilon

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SENATE’S CLOSING MESSAGE FOR 16th CONGRESS: Senate President Franklin M. Drilon is congratulated by his fellow senators after delivering the Senate’s closing message for the 16th Congress, which adjourned sine die during Monday’s session, June 6, 2016. A four-time Senate President, it was Drilon’s ninth time to deliver the closing message of the Senate. Those greeting Drilon, are clockwise, Senators Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara, Senate Deputy Minority Leader Tito Sotto III, along with Senators Gringo Honasan II, Antonio Trillanes IV, Koko Pimentel III, Cynthia Villar and Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano.(MNS photo)

SENATE’S CLOSING MESSAGE FOR 16th CONGRESS: Senate President Franklin M. Drilon is congratulated by his fellow senators after delivering the Senate’s closing message for the 16th Congress, which adjourned sine die during Monday’s session, June 6, 2016. A four-time Senate President, it was Drilon’s ninth time to deliver the closing message of the Senate. Those greeting Drilon, are clockwise, Senators Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara, Senate Deputy Minority Leader Tito Sotto III, along with Senators Gringo Honasan II, Antonio Trillanes IV, Koko Pimentel III, Cynthia Villar and Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano.(MNS photo)

MANILA, Aug 1 (Mabuhay) – Congress has the sole authority to decide on the mode of amending the Constitution, Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon said on Monday.

“The mode of amending the Constitution, whether by Constitutional Assembly (Con-Ass) or Constitutional Convention (Con-Con), is the sole prerogative of Congress,” Drilon said in a statement.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier  said that President Rodrigo Duterte now prefers  Con-Ass over Con-Con  as the  mode of amending the 1987 Constitution.

But Drilon explained that unlike ordinary bills, a resolution calling for a review of the Constitution is not subject to the approval of the President.

“A resolution calling for a Con-Con or Con-Ass does not need the approval of, and cannot be vetoed by, the President,” he said, adding that the Filipino people would ultimately decide whether or not they would ratify the amendments to the Constitution.

“The amendments to the Constitution itself are not approved, and cannot be vetoed, by the President, but are submitted directly to the people for approval or rejection in a plebiscite,” the senator stressed.

Drilon said Congress should debate on the best mode to amend the Constitution, taking into consideration the views of all stakeholders, the President, and Constitutional and legal experts.

The senator is the author of Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 at the Senate calling for a Constitutional Convention to review the 1987 Constitution. He also chairs the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes and laws that will hear all measures calling for the amendment of the Constitution.

As the committee chair, Drilon vowed to give the resolution to amend the Constitution “the highest the priority.”

He said the committee would take it up as soon as the organization of the Senate was finalized and completed.(MNS)

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