House approves con-con bill

The House of Representatives is sticking to its guns on Charter change, notwithstanding the Senate’s unchanging stance on the initiative.

House Bill 7352, or the con-con bill, mustered 301 pro-votes to pass on final reading. No one abstained from the nominal voting presided over by Speaker Martin Romualdez.

The House-approved measure, if enacted, will serve as the enabling law to Resolution of Both Houses 6, which calls for a constitutional convention or con-con to amend the 36-year-old Constitution.

Under the bill, the con-con will have sectoral representatives comprising 20 percent of the total delegates, to be appointed jointly by the Senate President and the House Speaker.

The delegates will be paid at least P10,000 per day and receive travel and lodging allowances.

The election of delegates will take place on 30 October, concurrent with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Their terms of office would run from 1 December this year to 30 June 2024.

The delegates will be employed for at least six months to propose constitutional amendments, subject to a plebiscite held no sooner than 60 days and no later than 90 days after the convention report is submitted to the President and Congress.

The House-approved measure was immediately transmitted to the Senate.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Monday said that the Senate — dominated by members opposed to the Cha-cha — must not brush aside its 301 counterparts in the House.

“The Senate cannot and should not ignore our initiative, which is an expression of the people’s consensus we gathered in our recent nationwide public hearings and consultations,” the veteran lawmaker said.

Rodriguez’s motion came a day after Senate President Migz Zubiri said that amending the Constitution without the President’s backing would be tough to push in the upper chamber. It would also be costly and time-consuming, he added.

Among those who opposed the measure were Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado, Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, and the three-member Makabayan bloc, namely, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel, and ACT Rep. France Castro, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte.

Duterte is the only member of the majority coalition who thumbed down the con-con bill.

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