Drilon still prefers to amend Constitution via Con-con; says it won’t need President’s approval

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  (PNA) – Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon said Monday that if it were up to him, he would still prefer that the Constitution be amended via a Constitutional Convention (Con-con) instead of a Constituent Assembly (Con-ass).

Lawmakers from both the Senate and the House of Representatives remain divided whether to amend the Constitution via Con-ass or Con-con. President Rodrigo Duterte has pushed for a Con-ass, saying it is a faster and cheaper mode to amend the 29-year-old Constitution.

Con-ass is composed of all members of the Senate and the House convening as Congress discuss proposed amendments to the Constitution, while a Con-con provides for election of delegates who will revise the charter.

Drilon, however, pointed out that the President has no participation in changing the Constitution “except as a political leader” because it is an act of Congress.

“A resolution for a Con-con or a Con-ass does not need the President’s approval. And once the resolution is approved, it is submitted directly to the people for approval,” he told reporters in an interview.

The Senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, admitted that as a political leader, the President “would still have an influence” in the manner in which the Constitution should be amended.

“Because if the Congress prefers Con-con but if you say that there’s no budget, how do we elect delegates? The reality is, assuming that Congress would pass a Con-con, then we have to negotiate with the executive on the budget,” Drilon said.

“The non-inclusion of the budget for a Con-con is understandable because the preference of the executive is Con-ass,” he added.

He meanwhile said that he would continue to push for Con-con and just wait and see what will happen.

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