MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson is set to file a resolution next week for the Senate to form its own separate constituent assembly (Con-ass) to vote on the proposal to amend the 1987 Constitution.
“Magpa-file din ako ng (I will also file a) Senate resolution to constitute ourselves, the Senate, in a constituent assembly and wait for the lower house to do the same if they wish,” Lacson said at a press conference in Manila on Thursday.
Lacson explained that this way, the upper chamber could already start to propose amendments to the Charter through a three-fourths vote by senators.
He said that if amendments are approved, these would be discussed in a bicameral conference where the House of Representatives and the Senate could reconcile their proposals.
Afterwards, the Senate and House would again take a three-fourths vote separately on amendments before being presented to the public for a plebiscite.
Lacson said the Senate and House should vote separately on Charter amendments because the Constitution does not indicate that voting should be done jointly.
Also, the senator said a joint vote would be unfair as the voice of the Senate — with only 23 members — would be drowned by the voice of 294 House members. The Senate actually has 24 members, including detained Sen. Leila de Lima.
He said it would be like a death warrant for the Senate to agree to a joint session with the House.
“Papayag ba ang Senado na papasok kami sa isang joint session knowing 23 ang senador and almost 300 ang congressmen? Ano pa ang saysay ng Senado? Wala kaming boses doon, hindi magma-matter ang boto ng 23,” he said.
[Will the Senate allow itself to participate in a joint session knowing there are 23 senators and almost 300 congressmen? What’s the purpose of the Senate? We don’t have a voice there, our votes won’t matter],” he said.
Lacson said that even in basic or “simpler” legislation, the two chambers vote separately and thus all the more that separate votes must be required in moves to amend the Charter.
He said he knew that majority of senators would not agree to a resolution to convene in a joint session.