Con Ass, Part II: Another dance of desperation

May 23, 2006 at 3:26 pm Leave a comment

The filing on April 25, 2006, of a new resolution to convene a Constituent Assembly (Con Ass) is a veritable proof that the government-backed people’s initiative has already fizzled out. House Resolution 1230 is substantially no different from the earlier resolution, HCR 26, except for some revisions introduced by the minority bloc. However, HCR 26 is virtually dead – the Senate has refused and continues to refuse to deliberate on the resolution.

HR 1230 restores the no-election scenario, a transitory provision that Rep. Roilo Golez, with the support of the minority bloc, was able to remove in the first Constituent Assembly resolution. The new proposal was supposed to be discussed today, but due to questions on the status of the previous resolution and in light of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) proposal to have a dialogue on Cha-Cha between the Senate and the House, the debate on HR 1230 was suspended today.

What the dialogue would be able to accomplish remains unclear. That a dialogue will take place, however, means that the House leadership blinked. Below is our press release on the proposed dialogue:

Dialogue with Senators and new ‘Con Ass’ resolution an act of desperation

AKBAYAN Rep. Risa Hontiveros- Baraquel today said that the dialogue with the Senators on issues related to charter change is an act of desperation. “What the administration lawmakers did not admit, or do not wish to admit, is that the effort to resolve the tiff between the two chambers is an act of desperation,” Rep. Hontiveros said.

The solon said that the House majority, in particular Speaker De Venecia and Rep. Constantino Jaraula, Chair of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, are simply not admitting that the whole Cha-Cha express is losing steam. “The whole business of introducing a new ‘Con Ass’ resolution despite the absence of any concrete House decision on the fate of House Concurrent Resolution No. 26 already proves that the Senate has succeeded in blocking the first attempt to amend the constitution. The filing of the new resolution is also a way of saying that PIRMA has failed, and the ball should be brought back to the House of Representatives, where presumably the administration has more control” Rep. Hontiveros said.

She also said that the future moves of the administration to amend the constitution will be defined and driven largely by desperation. “They have Speaker De Venecia in the House of Representatives and they have fielded former Rep. Ronaldo Puno to spearhead PIRMA, and yet nothing has come out of these initiatives. What the administration should realize is that the using charter change to ensure its survival and to bury persistent questions on its legitimacy simply won’t work and won’t be accepted by the public,” Rep. Hontiveros said.

Rep. Hontiveros believes that the dialogue with the Senators will be a humbling experience for the leadership of the House of Representatives. “After all the bullish pronouncements, it is a clear admission on the part of the House of Representatives that it cannot amend the constitution on its own. Even if the Senate is convinced theoretically that the 1987 Constitution has to be amended, the dialogue will open tedious but necessary processes that would derail the administration’s timetable,” Rep. Hontiveros said.

“On our part, while we believe that charter change is a fundamental and necessary component of any attempt to reform and overhaul our political order, we insist that a resolution on the legitimacy of the current government is a prerequisite of any charter change. We can never have a meaningful and democratic charter change under the current administration. We will also make sure that the process of amending the constitution itself is participatory and democratic – there can be no shortcuts, and certainly political ambitions cannot supersede the interest of deepening our democracy and promoting our people’s interests,” she added. ###


Entry filed under: AKBAYAN in Congress, Charter Change, Press Releases.

Either a lie from the very beginning or plain political vendetta Who said yes…

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