Opposition Congressmen Believe that the House Majority’s plan to convene a constituent assembly to amend the 1987 constitution will end up in a legal battle before the Supreme Court.

Both Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Northern Samar  Rep. Raul Daza pointed out that there will definitely be petitions asking the court to interpret the constitutional provision on the voting in a constituent assembly.

Daza said,”there will be the big question of how the voting will be…

under art 17 sec 1 of the constitution it says that when congress convenes as a cosntituent assembly it can propose amendments or revisions to the constitution by a vote of 3/4 of all its members but it doesnt say whether the senate and the house will vote jointly or separately i believe that the senators will raise a question on the voting unlike in the last voting on the extension of martial law the onstitution ws clear that both houses would vote jointly dito wala eh nakalagay lang 3/4 of all its members di sinasabi voting jointly or voting separately there will be i think a case or cases filed in the SC even before the actual voting occurs… it will be i think  a blessing in disguise becaus eit will precipatate a case in the Sc to interpret this particular provision.”

Lagman also said, “with respect to voting in the constituent assmebly raul is right the constitution is silent but there is already a supreme court decision in Gonzales vs Comelec it says that when members of congress meet as a cosntituent assembly theyre there not as legsilatros but as members of a cosntituent assembly for the purpose of proposing amendments to the cosntitution as such the decision said one member one vote voting jointly. in ther words whatever would be the result between the talks of the House and the senate if they dont agree this will go the Sc for final adjudiciation if there will be separate voting this will go to the SC for adjudication”

Members of the House reached a consensus  Monday to postpone the barangay and sangguniang kabataan elections to May 2018 to coincide with a plebescite to approve amendments to the constitution to accomodate the proposed Bangsamoro basic law.

the previous congress failed to approved the BBL because of persistent questions that it would create a substate, which lawmakers argued was against the constitution. if approved, another plebescite will be called so that areas to be covered by the BBL can decide if they want to join or not.

Lagman said,under the plan of the adMinistration there will be 2 plebescites one to ratify proposals to amend the cosntitution to give way to the BBL to remove the constitutional provisions which maybe impinged by the BBL the 2nd plebescite will come later that is with respect to the issue whether the constituent assembly whether the constituent units of the BBL coverage would ratify or reject the BBL kaya 2 course theres another constitutional exercise another plebescite with respect to the planend shift from the unicameral to the federal system but that is again a long way to go”

House Committee on Suffrage Chairman Sherwin Tugna thinks these can be done by the preferred date of the new election which may 2018.

“well it was discussed also that the would be proposed BBL that will be filed here in the Lower House hopefully from today upto May 2018 it will pass here in the Lower Hosue pass in the senate it will be signed by the president into a law for BBL not be in contravention…nangangailangan ng amendments sa ating saligang batas that can be done via a joint session which we had last july 22 during the martial alw extension where in both houses voted jointly…if we can kung maasabay na natin yung plebesito ng naaprubahan na pag amyenda ng constitusyon malaking savinsgs a govt kasi isasabay lang sa election ng brgy officials”

Opposition lawmakers however have their doubts.

Magdalo Rep Gary Alejano said, “now theyre going to submit the original version the ML stated yesterday that the plebescite would jive with the conduct of the brgy and sk elections complication  dahil may isa pang stage you have to amend the constitution first  ito hindi pa ito federalism parang sinsabi natin yung bola pinasa sa kongreso alam namang di mapapasa ang panukala unles babaguhin ang kosntitusyon amending the constituion will take time much more opening the constitution to cater the BBL”

Lagman also said, “so in other words there has to be a constituent assembly because they favor constituent assembly to amend certain provisions of the  constitution only to give way to the enactment of the bangsamoro basic law no other amendments will be cosnidered in that supposed constituent assembly. it takes a longer period there was a collaitlla in the statement of the Ml just in acse di pa handa pagjive ng plebesito another postponement will be made this is a series of psotponement in perpetuity all derogating against the sovereign will”

Lagman warned that the postponement, “trivializes our democratic processes particyarly sao when what is being postponed is the election of baranagy officials at the grassroots”

the opposition lawmakers already have their own misgivings as to why the elections have to be delayed in the first place.

Magdalo rep. Gary Alejano said, “it was unfortunate yesterday that the basis for the postponement of the barangay and SK elections was not discussed. again it was said that it was the request of the president  to postpone the elections because drug lords might control brgy elections yung drug issue laging siansabi na reason and it was the reason last postponement of the brgy elections hanggang ngayon after 1 year ng patayan..di pa ba sila nacontrol why would you involve the 60% na di kasama sa suspect na di kasama sa drug trade”

Lagman said, “we are against the postponement i think we should not deny people the opprotunity to give fresh mandate to their barangay officials“

Akbayan Rep Tom Villarin for his part said, “ kung matuloy ang postponement lets have 6 months of preparing people on the ground how to address the drug problem.”