The House of Representatives on Tuesday adopted the resolution seeking to convene Congress into a constituent assembly to propose amendments in the Constitution.
House Concurrent Resolution No. 9, sponsored by House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chair Roger Mercado on the floor, was adopted via viva voce voting despite opposition from members of the Makabayan bloc.
In the resolution, both the Senate and the House of Representatives are sought to constitute itself into a constituent assembly "to propose amendments to or revision of the Philippine Constitution."
The resolution substitutes several other resolutions, including Resolution of Both House No. 8 by ABS Party-list Representative Eugene De Vera and Pampanga Representative Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales Jr., who submitted their draft of the "Proposed Constitution of the Federal Republic of the Philippines" last August 2, 2016.
Progressive lawmakers, however, claimed that the adoption of the resolution was "railroaded."
They claimed that Anakpawis party-list Representative Ariel Casilao had not yet finished his interpellation on the resolution when Pampanga Representative Juan Pablo Bondoc moved for the termination of the period of interpellation and adoption of the resolution through voting.
Several lawmakers from their block were also in line for interpellation, they said.
"Kitang-kita naman talagang lokohan na ang Kongresong ito," ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio told reporters in a press conference following the plenary session.
"Marami pang kasamahan natin ang naghihintay na makapagtanong sa panukala nila, ngunit nagpasya ang pamunuan na tapusin na ang anumang pagtatanong at pagbotohan at tapusin na ito sa kabila ng mga objections. Again, nilabag na naman ng House ang sarili niyang rules," he added.
For Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate, the supposed railroading of the adoption of the resolution will already be "face" of the proposed constituent assembly.
"Ito yung magiging mukha na ng kanilang ConAss. Raratsadahin lahat, yung kanilang gusto na wala nang eleksyon, wala nang term limits, yun na ang magiging mukha. Kung ano ang ginawa nila sa plenaryo ngayon, yun na ang magiging mukha ng kanilang magiging ConAss," he said.
"Ang pagbabago ng Konstitusyon na ito ay hindi para sa kagalingan ng mamamayan, kundi para sa kanilang pansarili at makitid na interes ng mga nasa kapangyarihan," he added.
Earlier in the day, subcommittees of House Committee on Constitutional Amendment presented their proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution which will be considered in drafting the proposed federal charter.
These include giving the President a term of five years with one reelection, a Prime Minister which will act as the "head of government," dividing the republic into five states, abolishing the Judicial and Bar Council, among others.
The Duterte administration has been pushing for a shift to a federal form of government as a means to address issues particularly in strife-torn Mindanao.
In an earlier interview, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that if Congress decides to convene in a constituent assembly this month, the proposed new federal charter may be submitted for a referendum simultaneously with the scheduled Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections this May. —NB, GMA News