Fariñas protests ‘railroading’ raps on con-ass resolution

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas (Reuters File)

MANILA, Philippines — “False, unfounded and unfair.”

This was how Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas described accusations by colleagues from the Makabayan bloc that the pro-administration “supermajority” in the House of Representatives had “railroaded” the adoption of the resolution calling for a constituent assembly to amend the Constitution.

“Nothing at all had been railroaded,” Fariñas said, insisting in a statement that House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 was the “product of democratic and exhaustive debates not just in the plenary hall … but in nationwide public consultations.”

The resolution calls on the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene into a constituent assembly to revise or amend the Charter. other modes of amending the Constitution are through a constitutional convention and through a people’s initiative.

Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc claim the resolution was hastily approved on Tuesday, January 16, even while several House members were still interpellating.

But Fariñas maintained that lawmakers were given enough time to study the proposal, from the time the committee report was filed in February 2017, calendared in the House Order of Business in March 2017, and sponsored on the floor in December 2017.

He reminded his colleagues that the move to amend the Constitution was not new as it has been discussed in the previous congresses.

“The clamor for Charter change has long been there. It is time we seriously consider it for the benefit of our country and our people,” he said.