Drilon backs Puno: SC cannot interfere in cha-cha

MANILA -- Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday said that he agreed with the statement of former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Reynato Puno that the Supreme Court (SC) could not interfere in the process of amending the 1987 Constitution.

I concur with the observation of former Chief Justice Puno that the Supreme Court cannot interfere in the process of amending the constitution, because it is a political question, Drilon said in an interview after the third senate hearing into charter change.

Drilon explained that the SC cannot interfere because it is a political exercise and a political question, beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court cannot rule that we should vote jointly or separately - that question is left to the discretion of Congress because the process of amending the constitution is a political process lodged in Congress itself. That is very clear. Whether or not we vote separately, the Supreme Court cannot interfere, he added.

Drilon also maintained that both houses should vote separately as there was consensus among senators.

He said that the bicameral nature of the legislative branch "leaves no doubt that there should be a separate voting."

Before the third hearing on cha-cha, Drilon said that the minority bloc was open to allow the SC to decide whether the Congress should vote on charter change jointly or separately.

We are open to it. Ultimately it will have to be decided by the Supreme Court, Drilon said in an earlier TV interview.

It may be recalled that Drilon repeatedly insisted that voting should be done separately because voting jointly would make the Senate irrelevant.

If we vote jointly we become irrelevant. I cannot imagine that the framers of the constitution contemplated of the situation where the senate's vote is just equivalent to that of 290 or so congressmen in a joint voting. No senator will agree to this kind of interpretation, Drilon said.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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