“Constitutional Convention is a more independent body to amend the Constitution”- Gov. Cerilles

Jan 18, 2018 Others

“Let the members of the Congress concentrate on legislative matters.  There should be another body who should study carefully the other restrictions, the form of government, their basic defects and mistakes of the present constitution.”

“Constitutional Convention is a more independent body to amend the Constitution”, says Governor Antonio Cerilles as the Philippine Congress is one step closer to revise the Constitution through a constituent assembly, after the House of Representative approved on 2nd reading House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) Number 9 on Tuesday, January 16.

According to him the proposed amendment of the Constitution must not be given solely to the presently sitting officials of the House of Representatives as well as the concurrent members of the Senate for the reason that they will probably be biased. Biased in the sense that those sitting officials will surely be entice to uphold self-interests in further strengthen political capacities to hold public office on amending the Charter.

“This (Con Ass) will not be forward looking, this will not be objective, and their standpoint will not be based on broadmindedness on drafting the Constitution”, he emphasized that through Con-con independent member of the body will be chosen coming from all sectors of the community to thoroughly study and improve the flaws of the present Constitution.

He said electing delegates to a Con Con would have at least given the said body a certain level of independence that Congress as Con Ass would never have. And they would have been better equipped for the job because they would be voted upon for the sole purpose of changing the Constitution. Like the 1971 Con Con that drafted the 1973 Constitution, it had some of the country’s intellectual giants as members.

But if the Con Ass is there, and the only way to ensure its members won’t make a mess of their work or push for their own personal and partisan interests is to monitor how they are implementing their tasks and exert pressure on them to do their job well and remind them that they are there to serve, foremost, the welfare of the Filipino People, he concluded.

There are 3 options to amend the 1987 Constitution. One is through constituent assembly, which involves only members of Congress; a constitutional convention, whose delegates need to be elected; or a direct amendment through a people's initiative, where the petition should have the signature of at least 12% of registered voters in the country, with a minimum percentage coming from every legislative district.

Data’s showed that the Duterte administration is facing the challenge of selling charter change to nearly half of the Philippine population. A Pulse Asia survey said a big plurality of Filipinos are opposed to moves to amend the Constitution now, with 44% rejecting the proposal and 37% supporting it.