Very little time available for Charter change, Comelec chief says

President Aquino tours and views the exhibit on the promotion and advancement of solutions and initiatives on energy efficiency during the Energy Smart Philippines (ESPhil) 2014 in Pasay City (MNS photo)

President Aquino tours and views the exhibit on the promotion and advancement of solutions and initiatives on energy efficiency during the Energy Smart Philippines (ESPhil) 2014 in Pasay City (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Amid talks of amending the 1987 Constitution, Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. admitted that there is very little time for it.

Wala na ring oras, konting konti na. Masikip na,” Brillantes told reporters Wednesday at the sidelines of the opening of the Overseas Voter Registration Center at the Blas Ople-Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Development Center in Intramuros, Manila.

He said Congress should pass the amendments before October next year.

“The filing of certificate of candidacy is in October of 2015, therefore the amendments should be finished before the filing of the certificates of candidacy,” Brillantes said.

He said Congress can also convert itself into a constitutional assembly then submit their proposed amendments for a plebiscite.

Still, Brillantes said the plebiscite should be held three months before the filing of certificates of candidacy.

This scenario, according to Brillantes, is also not very feasible.

He added another problem is the lack of budget for the conduct of plebiscite next year after the Department of Budget and Management cut the Comelec budget.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, meanwhile, said the Senate supports the effort in the House of Representatives to push amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution phrase by inserting the “unless otherwise provided by law.”

In a speech before the members of the Philippine Bar Association Tuesday night, Drilon said the amendment would enable the Congress “to review our economic policies without the need of amending our Constitution.”

“We support this approach in amending our very stringent economic policies, in order that we could keep pace with a fast-paced economic environment,” he said.

Earlier, lawmakers supportive of Charter change have expressed their preference for introducing amendments to the Constitution through a constitutional assembly.

Under Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 (RBH 1) filed by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the amendments to the Constitution will be approved if the proposal garners three-fourths vote in the Senate and the House, separately.

In  August, President Aquino said he is now open to amending the Constitution to limit the judiciary’s power on the executive and legislature. (MNS)

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