By Hannah Torregoza
Senators on Friday lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of 19 of the 25 members that would form part of the consultative committee tasked to review proposals to amend the 1987 Constitution.
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno would lead the said Charter change committee.
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said the Chief Executive’s move is a “good and welcome development.”
Nevertheless, he said the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws should continue its hearings, especially the ones that will be conducted in Mindanao, Cebu and Baguio, “and hear the testimony of the resource persons.”
“The study or report of the Puno Commission will be a valuable input in the report of the constitutional amendments committee, and the debates in plenary,” Drilon said.
Drilon said amending the Charter is basically a function of the Congress.
“It is best that we await the Committee, and Senate itself, to decide on these issues,” he said.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who earlier announced the Senate and House of Representatives’ leaders’ decision to concentrate on drafting proposed changes in the 1987 Constitution, echoed Drilon’s statement.
“That is a welcome development and that is part of the Executive’s effort to review the current Constitution. (The) Legislative (branch) will have its own mechanisms,” Pimentel said.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said the President has already told them of his plan to form the Commission since last year.
“He told us about that last year pa. It can be useful to us,” Sotto said.
The members of the Puno Commission will include former Senate president Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr; former SC associate justice Bienvenido Reyes; Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) founder lawyer Reuben Canoy; former SC justice and former solicitor general Antonio Nachura Jr; former dean of De La Salle University’s (DLSU) College of Liberal Arts Julio Cabral Teehankee; and Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of San Beda’s Graduate School of Law.