Spot report #2 on Con-Con deliberations

Yesterday, I attended the meeting of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Constitutional Amendments on the proposed Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) to change the 1987 Philippine Constitution. (Read my spot report on the Aug. 26 meeting here)

The Committee amended the proposed measure calling for Con-Con by postponing the elections for the convention’s delegates from May 2010 (to coincide with the national elections), to October 2010 (which may coincide with the barangay elections). The exact date stipulated for the holding of the Con-Con elections is October 25, 2010. One representative who used to oppose Con-Con now approves of it because of this amendment. She claims it now clears the doubts on the political maneuverings that may happen in the Con-Con elections because it will be held after the term of Pres. Arroyo.

I think, however, it’s just a way for the Arroyo administration to reassure themselves that they have another elections to maneuver, in the likely chance that they lose the national elections on May. The Con-Con elections will be vulnerable, then, to the political manipulation of those who will lose the May 2010 national elections.

On another note, the Committee also agreed, at least in principle, to include sectoral representatives in the election of delegates. The proponent, Rep. Erin Tanada, proposed the following sectors: women, youth, workers, farmers, indigenous people, and fisherfolk. But it remained a proposal, since the congressmen couldn’t agree definitely on the specifics of the proposal. The discussion on which sectors are to be included and how many representatives will be elected from each sector, was postponed for the plenary session.

The Committee also agreed to put in a time limit of one year for the Con-Con to complete its task of drafting a new constitution. The time limit, however, does not seem to be a limit because some of the members clarified that regardless of the clause, the convention can ask for an extension from the Congress, or something to that effect.

Lastly, the Committee agreed that it shall be the Supreme Court Chief Justice who will preside over the first sessions of the Con-Con, in preparation of, and prior to the elections of the Con-Con leadership.

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