Senators insist separate vote over proposed amendment or revision of the Constitution

(Left-right) Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd, Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments Chairman Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Senate President Aquilino Koko Pimentel, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senator Panfilo Lacson

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said they are not pressured by the resolution recently passed by the House of Representatives regarding the mode of changing the charter.

Sotto noted the Senate will still follow the proper process.

“If they will insist on a constituent assembly, of voting jointly, they cannot expect any member of the Senate to cooperate because we can always say no. Any of the two houses of Congress can say no,” Sotto said.

“Obviously, voting separately weighs more. The Constitutional Convention weighs more than the constituent assembly,” Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments chairman Sen. Francis Pangilinan said.

Even Senate President Aquilino Koko Pimentel believes there is no need for Congress to conduct a joint session.

“When you are in a joint session physically, the automatic thinking is that it will also be voting jointly. And since voting separately is our interpretation, I think we can proceed separately,” Pimentel said.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also noted the Supreme Court should not intervene in the process of Charter Change.

“I concur the observation former Chief Justice Puno that the Supreme Court cannot interfere in the process of amending the Constitution because it’s a political question,” he said.

During the Senate caucus, Tuesday, Senator Panfilo Lacson proposes to expel the senators who will not stand by the decision of the Senate majority.

“So I said, ‘To strengthen our talks, maybe we should agree to expel members who will agree to such an arrangement without the benefit of a resolution adopted by the body’. And nobody objected,” Sen. Panfilo Lacson said. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue

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