Don’t count cost when writing constitution: Ex-chief justice

MANILA -- A former Supreme Court (SC) chief justice on Wednesday said the cost of amending or revising the 1987 Constitution should not be counted as it is the best investment people can make.

We should not count the cost when writing a constitution. A good constitution is the best investment a people can make, former Supreme Court Justice Reynato Puno said during the third Senate hearing on Charter change.

Puno made this remark stressing that preferring a constitutional assembly (con-ass) over a constitutional convention (con-con) because it is cheaper is a cheap argument.

The justification for a con-ass is that it is cheaper than a con-con. To me, that is a cheap argument, he added.

Puno also suggested a hybrid con-con where each position will be a mixture of elected and appointed delegates.

However, he said that if the Congress convenes as a con-ass, he said that voting should be done separately noting that voting jointly meant the cancellation of the participation of the Senate.

"As institutions, they are equal. They have different perspectives and these perspectives have to be reflected institutionally," Puno said.

Puno also pointed out that the numerical superiority of the House of Representatives will simply overwhelm the Senate.

He disagreed with former SC chief justice Hilario Davide, Jr. who saw no need to amend the Constitution and even described efforts to do so as a leap to hell.

I don't know how to intelligently answer that fear because I have not been to hell, your honors, Puno quipped, referring to Davide's earlier statement.

He insisted that there is a need to overhaul the Constitution as the current institution was done in haste.

Moreover, he said that there was also a need to redefine the philosophy of the federal government that would be adopted.

Aside from Puno, other resource persons in the hearing who are in favor of Charter change were former Senate President Former Aquilino Nene Pimentel, Jr., and former Associate Justice Adolfo Azcuna.

Source: Philippine News Agency