MANIL,A Jan 23 (Mabuhay) — The House of Representatives is forcing the issue on Charter change (Cha-cha) believing that the Supreme Court (SC) would eventually decide in their favor, opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Tuesday.
Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party (LP), also accused the administration of “bullying” the Senate as allies of President Rodrigo Duterte in the House of Representatives are bent on pushing through with a constituent assembly (con-ass) even without the participation of the upper chamber.
“The strategy it appears is for the HoR to force the issue and have the Supreme Court step in and decide in their favor,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
“The administration has bullied the political opposition, its critics, the chief justice, the media, selected business interests, and now it wants to bully the Senate. The bullying of the House is an abuse of those in power, we should not let it pass,” Pangilinan said.
“If the Senate allows itself to be bullied, then our democracy and respect for the law will be thrown out the window and anyone can be a victim of the abuses of those in power,” he added.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has repeatedly said that it will push through with amending the Constitution through a con-ass even without the participation of the Senate.
Article XVII, Section 1 states that “any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by: (1) the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A constitutional convention.”
Alvarez said the House can proceed with con-ass as the Senate continues to insist on separate voting, arguing that Congress is bicameral in nature.
The House Speaker has also said that only the SC can settle the deadlock between the Senate and the House of Representatives.
On his Twitter account, Senator Panfilo Lacson said “those who insist that the House alone can constitute itself into a constituent assembly do not know what Congress means.”
Lacson then cited Article VI, Section 1, which states that “the legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives…”
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III earlier said that he expects the House of Representatives to “wait” for the decision of the Senate. This, after the House formally informed the Senate that it has approved the resolution constituting a con-ass and that it requests for the “concurrence” of the upper chamber. (MNS)