House, Senate leaders should tackle Cha-cha in summit

MANILA -- The Senate and House of Representatives leaderships should meet in a legislative summit to discuss proposals on amending the 1987 Constitution, a senator said Thursday.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri made this remark noting that a summit could smoothen out the edges of discussions whether to vote jointly or separately if a constitutional assembly (con-ass) mode is agreed upon.

The Senate has made a collective stand to voting separately.

However, the House has already adopted a resolution to vote jointly.

Zubiri, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, said that if the House agrees with the Senate consensus to vote separately, then discussions on Charter change could proceed.

It's important to have a summit amongst the two members of the Congress, said Zubiri, a federalism advocate.

The senator suggested that the summit be held not in the Senate or House but in neutral territory.

Let's tone down the rhetoric, come up with a legislative summit, in a neutral territory (to discuss proposals on Charter change), maghanap sila ng (they should look for a) hotel or a function room, meeting with the leaderships of the House and Senate and really sit down and come up with the ground rules, Zubiri said.

We'll vote separately, if they agree, and we'll vote in our own hometowns -they vote in the House, we vote in the Senate. What is not taken up in the House and Senate can be discussed in a bicameral conference then take it back to the Senate and House for separate voting. At least ground rules can be taken up, he added.

Zubiri, meanwhile, urged both chambers of Congress to assure that the summit would be transparent and open to the public.

There should be transparency, there might be discussions on sensitive topics but this should be open to the public because it involves public accountability and discussions on the future of our republic, Zubiri said.

Zubiri, meanwhile, expressed hope that a new Constitution would be possible under the Duterte administration.

I'm confident that in this administration, it would happen. It has a high percentage of happening, he added.

Source: Philippine News Agency