By Ben Rosario
Fresh charter change moves advanced in the House of Representatives when the House Committee on Constitutional Revision unanimously approved Resolution of Both Houses No. 15, proposing to convene Senate and the House of Representatives into a constituent assembly to amend the 1987 Constitution.
Voting 10 for and zero against, the committee chaired by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso adopted RBH 15 that contained the proposed Constitution of the Federal Republic of the Philippines.
Despite listing Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as among the authors of the measure, the resolution did not contain a provision that will make good her guarantee that the two Houses will vote separately on proposed provisions of the new charter.
“Resolved by Senate and the House of Representatives, by a vote of three-fourths of all its Members, pursuant to Section 1, Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution, to propose the revision of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines…” RBH No. 15 read.
Veloso explained that the Arroyo leadership remained committed to this pledge, adding that there was no need for the two Houses to convene into one assembly to revise the Charter.
“Speaker Arroyo has made that pledge, it will be carried out,” Veloso said.
Veloso, a former Court of Appeals associate justice said, the plenary approval of the measure was expected to trigger the filing of an SC petition questioning the manner of voting.
The Leyte solon said former majority leader and Ilocos Sur Rep. Rodolfo Farinas has aired an intention to stop Congress from voting jointly on Charter issues.
Once passed, HBR No. 15 will supersede House Concurrent Resolution No. 09 that was adopted last January when Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez was still speaker.
The Lower House sent HCR No. 09 to the Senate for its action to no avail.
Veloso said both the House and the Senate were supposed to take separate actions in pursuing Charter amendments but so far, senators have yet to do their part.
Committee adoption of RBH 15 was quick as Veloso stressed the urgency of pushing for a federal constitution as part of the Duterte administration’s political and economic reform programs.
Aside from Arroyo and Veloso, other authors of RBH 15 included Reps. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez (PDP-Laban, Negros Occidental) ; Deogracias Savellano (NP, Ilocos Sur); Eugene Michael De Vera (ABS Partylist); Ron Salo (Kabayan Partylist); Bernadette Herrera-Dy (BH Partylist); Arnolfo Teves Jr. (PDP-Laban, Negros Oriental) and Anthony Bravo (Coop-Nattco Partylist).
House officials listed as co-introducers were Majority Leader Rolando Andaya (PDP-Laban, Camarines Sur); Deputy Speakers Fredenil Castro (NUP, Capiz) and Arthur Yap (PDP-Laban, Bohol); and Deputy Majority Leader Rodante Marcoleta.