MANILA, May 8 (Mabuhay) – Senate President Franklin Drilon said Friday there is no more time and budget left in the Aquino administration to hold a referendum for a Constitutional Convention as proposed by Senators Teofisto Guingona III and Aquilino Pimentel III.
“Medyo gahol na sa panahon ito at wala nang budget,” Drilon said in a radio interview.
“Pag nagkaroon ng referendum – ayan po ay sang-ayon sa ating Saligang Batas na magkaroon ng referendum at konsultahin ang taumbayan – unang-una ay kailangan natin ng malaking pera o malaking budget, for a nationwide consultation or referendum. Pangalawa, wala na tayong panahon,” he explained.
Drilon said if his colleagues wanted to debate on whether there is a need for a Constitutional Convenstion, they can do so even without a public consultation.
“Kami po ay kinatawan ng taumbayan, at ayon sa Saligang Batas, two-thirds ng buong Kongreso at ng Senado ay puwede nang magpasya at magpatawag ng isang Constitutional Convention kung saan ang isang delegado ay pwedeng i-elect sa May 2016,” he said.
“Pero kung gagawin pang referendum ay gahol na tayo sa panahon, wala po tayong budget,” he reiterated.
The Constitutional Convention is one of the three modes allowed to amend the Constitution. The other two are people’s initiative and constituent assembly.
Under the people’s initiative, an amendment may be proposed by the people through a petition of at least 12 percent of the total number of registered voters, while under a constituent assembly, Congress may propose amendments upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members.
Guingona, Pimentel resolution
On May 5, Guingona and Pimentel filed Senate Resolution 1308 urging members of Congress “to submit to the electorate the question of calling for a Constitutional Convention to propose amendments or revisions to the 1987 Constitution.”
They said various business organizations and research groups have identified provisions in the 1987 Constitution that need to be revised to address expanding global demands, as well as, economic and political realities.
“The radical revision in the constitutional structure is a task better given to a constitutional convention, whose members shall be chosen by the people, rather than to a constituent assembly, composed of members of Congress who currently wield political power,” they said.
They added that the calling of a Constitutional Convention to propose amendments to or revisions of the Constitution is the least divisive and the most transparent, exhaustive, and democratic way of achieving much-needed constitutional reforms.
The senators said the Congress can either directly call a constitutional convention by a vote of two-thirds of all its members, or submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention by a majority of all its members.
They said that to dispel any doubts that the constitutional reforms are being sought to advance political and economic interests of a chosen few, it would be more prudent, participatory, and democratic to submit to the electorate the question of calling such a constitutional convention.
They proposed that the should the electorate favorably decide to one one, the election for delegates be conducted simultaneously with the May 9, 2016 elections to defray the cost of a separate election. (MNS)