Yesterday, since Mong was at the hearing of the Special Committee on Bases Conversion regarding the North Rail project, I attended one of the hearings of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments regarding the proposed Constitutional Convention (Con-Con). As it appears right now, administration congressmen are not acting on the controversial HR 1109 calling for a Constituent Assembly.
They are now focused on drafting a bill allowing Congress to call for a Con-Con to revise the 1987 Philippine Constitution. It will be a consolidation of a handful of other measures on Con-Con proposed by different congressmen. As proposed, the members of the Constitutional Convention will be elected during next year’s national elections.
There had been meetings before, and much of the time was spent on debates with regard to the inclusion of the phrase “voting separately” which specifies how majority of the House and the Senate would approve the calling for Con-Con. Eventually, administration congressmen in the Committee voted to strike it off and leaving the “vagueness” of the present Constitution as is. Only Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza voted against it in yesterday’s deliberation.
Some of my other notes:
- Some congressmen, notably Rep. Erin Tanada and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares (not part of the Committee, but attended the hearing nonetheless) want party-list representation in Con-Con. The rest of the administration congressmen didn’t want it. Further discussion about it was postponed so that they can “study the proposal” more. But I personally think it was either they want to ignore the proposal or they want to railroad the approval of the bill ASAP.
- It was agreed upon by everyone that those who will file their candidacies for the Convention will be “automatically resigned” from their political parties. Same goes for government employees in GOCC’s (Government Owned and Controlled Corporations), members of the military, etc.
- Delegates will disqualified to run in the elections right after the Con-Con, and are disqualified from being appointed in any government agency one year after the Con-Con.
- Per diem allowance of the delegates will be P2,000 plus reimbursement of transportation expenses
- The next Committee meeting will be on September 8
There you go. I’ll try to make this spot reporting and other commentaries on Congress matters more regular, so that you may also be updated on the goings-on in Batasan.