House adopts con-ass to amend Charter

MANILA -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday adopted a resolution calling Congress to constitute itself as a constituent assembly (con-ass) to propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution toward a shift to federalism.

Members of the House approved via voice voting House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 convening both Houses of Congress into a constituent assembly.

House committee on constitutional amendments chair Roger Mercado said con-ass as a mode for Charter change would only cost PHP204 million as opposed to a constitutional convention, which would cost up to PHP11 billion.

Mercado's committee earlier in the day determined the provisions that need to be put up for discussion in the constituent assembly proper.

When asked if voting on Charter change should be done jointly or separately in a constituent assembly, Mercado believes that the House and Senate should vote jointly.

Article XVII, Section 1 of the Constitution states: Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by (1) The Congress, upon the vote of three-fourths of all its Members.

"On the part of the House of Representatives, we are limited to the provision. We cannot make any interpretation other than what is stated in our Constitution," Mercado said.

The proposed federal charter retains the position of the President, who would act as head of state, and introduces the position of a Prime Minister, who would be the head of the government.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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