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Senate, House to hold closed-door meeting on proposed Constitutional change after May 7
SENATORS and House representatives will hold a closed-door meeting after May 7 to discuss the proposed amendment of the 1987 Constitution as well as the method to be used, whether through a constitutional convention (con-con) or a constitutional assembly (con-ass).
A scheduled public hearing on Monday on the matter was canceled by the Senate panel on constitutional amendments and revision of codes.
Senator Robin C. Padilla, who chairs the committee, told the media that the cancellation was in consideration of “interparliamentary courtesy,” as explained to him by Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri.
The tradition disallows both chambers from intruding into each other’s affairs.
“I was told to move my hearing with the congressmen, since there will be an executive session between the House of Representatives and the Senate first,” he said in Filipino.
The senator, however, said he was disappointed as he prefers a public discussion with fellow lawmakers.
“I really want the people to hear about this, but of course I am new to being a legislator. I have to follow things they call tradition and interparliamentary courtesy,” said the first-term senator.
Cagayan De Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who chairs the counterpart committee in the House, also expressed disappointment over the public hearing’s cancellation.
“I was already prepared go to the Senate today at 10 am to present to the senators the basis of our Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 and House Bill No. 7352 which were all data-driven, evidence-based and future-proof,” he said in a statement.
The lower chamber on March 6 approved a resolution calling for a con-con, while its implementing measure, House Bill No. 7352, was approved last week.
Mr. Padilla also filed Resolution of Both Houses 3, which seeks to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution through a constituent assembly.
Mr. Zubiri, speaking at a separate media briefing on Monday, said they decided to follow the call of Cavite Rep. Elpidio F. Barzaga, Jr. “for a ceasefire on the heated discussions on charter change.”
“This is the reason why I asked Sen. Robinhood Padilla to postpone his invitation to our representatives as resource persons,” the Senate leader said.
“Being a neophyte senator, the chair of the committee may not yet be fully abreast with the traditions and practices of both chambers, but this tradition is to protect him and his committee as well, as we want to avoid a scenario in which conflicting opinions and heated arguments may take place,” he added.
Mr. Zubiri assured that the results of the executive session will be made public.
Congress will go on recess from March 25 to May 7. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan and Beatriz Marie D. Cruz