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)