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Romualdez: House open to discussions on con-ass as mode to amend Charter

Speaker Martin Romualdez on Friday said he is open to discussions on amending the 1987 Constitution via constituent assembly (con-ass), a mode of charter change wherein members of Congress will be the ones authorized to amend the Charter.

Romualdez issued the statement after Leyte Representative Richard Gomez said in a press conference that Romualdez is already in favor of con-ass even if the House of Representatives approved two measures that seek charter change via constituent convention (con-con), a mode wherein the public will elect delegates who will draft the new charter.

Both con-ass and con-con are provided for in the Constitution. The Constitution, however, does not explicitly state if the House and Senate will vote separately or jointly in a con-ass method.

“If the Senate wants a different mode, that is their discretion. The House leadership, however, is willing to open discussions with the Senate on their preferred mode of amending the Constitution if that will lead to an agreement between the two chambers,” said Romualdez.

“We are open to consider any proposal of the Senate and will submit such a proposal to members of the House. This was what I related to Rep. Richard Gomez when he informed me that senators are amenable to economic amendments but through con-ass,” he added.

Romualdez then lauded the efforts of Gomez and Senator Robinhood Padilla in trying to forge an agreement between the House and the Senate on charter change.

While the House already approved Resolution of Both Houses 6 calling for con-con to amend the 1987 Constitution and House Bill 7325 or the Con-con Bill which provides for the composition of con-con and a P10,000 compensation per delegate per date of attendance, charter change initiatives in the Senate are stuck in committee level discussions.

Senate President Miguel Zubiri had also said that there were not enough yes votes for charter change measures to pass in the Senate. 

Zubiri previously said that he is "confused" why legislators from the House of Representatives are rushing the Senate to act on proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution. Romualdez replied by saying that legislators are working at a fast pace because public interest is at stake.  —VAL, GMA Integrated News