THE House of Representatives approved on third and final reading on Tuesday, March 14, 2023, the enabling law of a resolution seeking the establishment of a constitutional convention (Con-Con) for the amendment or revision of the 1987 Constitution.

Voting 301-7 without abstention, the House approved House Bill (HB) 7352 for the implementation of Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 6, which was approved by the House last week.

Those who voted against the bill were Camarines Sur Third District Representative Gabriel Bordado, Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Representative France Castro, Davao City First District Representative Paolo Duterte, Basilan Representative Mujiv Hataman, Albay First District Representative Edcel Lagman and Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel.

Brosas strongly rejected the Con-Con, noting that such an amendment to the constitution is dangerous. She said the bill does not indicate the term limit of the delegates, form of government, provisions against martial law and the bill of rights.

“Lubhang mapanganib ang pakanang Con-Con na ito, dahil ipapaubaya sa mahigit 300 delegado ng kumbensyon ang pagbabago sa Saligang Batas, na hindi nalilimita lamang sa pang-ekonomiyang probisyon,” she said.

Brosas also said that the government will use public funds for Con-Con while the country faces problems related to high inflation.

Under HB 7352, the Congress will adopt a hybrid Con-Con in which 20 percent of the delegates will be appointed by the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, while each legislative district will elect their respective representative.

The election is eyed on October 30 simultaneous to the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

The primary qualification for delegates is that they must be 25 years old, college graduate and a natural-born Filipino citizen.

Delegates are entitled to P10,000 worth of allowance in each of their actual attendance to the assembly.

The Con-Con is expected to submit its report to the Office of the President, Congress and Commission on Elections on or before July 30, 2024 while the amendments would be ratified through the conduct of a plebiscite 60 to 90 days following the submission of the report.

Earlier, House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chairman Rufus Rodriguez said the implementation of Con-Con could cost up to P9.5 billion.

Meanwhile, Camarines Sur Representative Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. urged the Senate to push for its own version of a constitutional reform proposal.

Earlier, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said almost half of the senators have expressed opposition to the Con-Con being pushed by the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, chaired by Senator Robin Padilla.

He reiterated that the charter change is not yet among the priority of the Senate, the same stand as President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

“Without the support of the president, it will be very difficult to push this because as you know, it will need budgeting support from the executive branch, through the (Department of Budget and Management),” said Zubiri. (SunStar Philippines)