MANILA — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said that he is set to file a resolution next week to constitute only the Senate in a constituent assembly (con-ass) to vote on the proposal to amend the 1987 Constitution.
“Magpa-file din ako ng (I will also file a) Senate resolution to constitute ourselves, the Senate, in a constituent assembly and wait for the lower house to do the same if they wish,” Lacson said in a Kapihan press conference.
Lacson explained that this way, the Senate could already start to propose amendments to the Constitution that could be voted on by a three-fourths vote.
He said that if amendments are approved, these would be discussed in a bicameral conference between both chambers -the Senate and the House of Representatives (HOR) where they reconcile disagreeing proposals.
Afterwards, the Senate and House will again take a three-fourths vote separately on amendments before being presented as a plebiscite to the public.
The senator said that it was clear that the Senate and House should vote separately because the Constitution did not indicate that voting should be done jointly.
Furthermore, he said that if voting would be done jointly, there were nearly 300 congressmen and only 23 senators.
“Papayag ba ang Senado na papasok kami sa isang joint session knowing 23 ang Senador and almost 300 ang congressmen? Ano pa ang saysay ng Senado? Wala kaming boses doon, hindi magma-matter ang boto ng 23 (Will the Senate allow to convene in a joint session knowing there are 23 Senators and almost 300 congressmen? What’s the purpose of the Senate? We don’t have a voice there, our votes won’t matter),” he said.
He said that it’s like a death warrant for Senate to agree to a joint session with the House.
Lacson also pointed out that if a “simple” or basic legislation needed to be voted on the two chambers separately, what more if it was legislation to amend the Constitution.
He said that majority of senators would not agree to a resolution to convene in a joint session.
The senator earlier said that the Supreme Court should come up with an interpretation to decide if voting should be done jointly or separately.
“The Supreme Court will have to come up with an interpretation that will put to rest that issue of voting jointly or separately,” he said in a previous interview. (PNA)