Concom puts bicam in Constitution

MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte's Consultative Committee (Concom) to review the 1987 Constitution has included the constitutional recognition of the existence of the Bicameral Conference Committee in the proposed federal Constitution it is drafting.

Concom member and former associate justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura said that this provision was among the revisions in the Article on the Legislative Branch approved by the Concom in an en banc session on Tuesday.

There is one provision we approved to include in the article on the Legislative Department. Finally, there is constitutional recognition of the existence of the bicameral conference committee, Nachura said in a press conference at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) on Wednesday.

Nachura explained that the Bicameral Conference Committee is already part of the Legislative Branch's legislative process but it is not found in the 1987 constitution. The Concom's proposed Constitution gives it Constitutional recognition.

Under the current congressional practice, if the House-approved version is compatible with that of the Senate or vice versa, the final version's enrolled form is printed. Alternatively, one chamber may simply adopt the other's approved bill.

In case of differences between a House-approved and Senate-approved bill, which is more often the case, the Bicameral Conference Committee is called to reconcile or harmonize conflicting provisions of the two versions.

The Bicameral Conference Committee submits a report on the reconciled version of the bill, which is ratified by both chambers. The Senate prints the reconciled version in its enrolled form.

Eventually, the final enrolled form is submitted to MalacaAang. The President either signs it into law, or vetoes and sends it back to the Senate with veto message.

Below is a comparison of Section 26 in the 1987 Constitution and in the Concom's proposed federal Constitution:

The 1987 Constitution reads:

Section 26: (1) Every bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof.

(2) No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days, and printed copies thereof in its final form have been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment to meet a public calamity or emergency. Upon the last reading of a bill, no amendment thereto shall be allowed, and the vote thereon shall be taken immediately thereafter, and the yeas and nays entered in the Journal.

The Concom's proposed federal Constitution reads:

Section 26: (1) Retain the existing provision.

(2) Retain the existing provision.

(3) There shall be a bicameral conference committee composed of members chosen by each house that shall reconcile conflicting provisions of the bill passed by both houses. The reconciled version as agreed upon by the bicameral conference committee shall be subject to vote by each house in accordance with their respective rules.

Voting 19-0, the Concom approved this among other provisions by unanimous acclaim.

Nachura and Atty. Laurence Wacnang voted yes with reservations to submit a written explanation, while Concom member and former Senate President Aquilino Nene Pimentel Jr. voted yes subject to style and submission of comments. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency