Joint voting on Cha-cha not in Constitution: Sotto

MANILA -- Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Friday said the 1987 Constitution itself does not mention that the Congress should take a joint vote on any amendments to the Charter except on the declaration of martial law.

Sotto made this remark amid questions raised if voting on Charter change should be done jointly or separately should it decide to pursue a constitutional assembly (con-ass) mode.

Jointly, separately? Pwede ba tigilan na (Can we stop this)? Consti says only in martial law vote ang jointly. Nowhere else is jointly mentioned, Sotto said in his official Twitter account.

Not all senators prefer the con-ass mode to amend the Constitution.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier said the minority bloc still prefers constitutional convention (con-con) over con-ass.

Although a member of the majority, Senator Grace Poe also said that con-con is the best and most acceptable mode to take.

However, a number of Senators said that if the Senate decides collectively on con-ass, voting should be done separately.

Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier said that he is set to file a resolution next week to constitute only the Senate in a con-ass to vote on the proposal to amend Constitution and it was up to the House of Representatives (HOR) to follow suit if they wished.

This way, Lacson said the Senate could already start to propose amendments to the Constitution that could be voted on by a by a three-fourths vote.

He said that if amendments are approved, these will be discussed in a bicameral conference between both chambers -- the Senate and the House of Representatives where they reconcile disagreeing proposals.

Afterwards, the Senate and HOR will again take a three-fourths vote separately on amendments before being presented as a plebiscite to the public.

Will the Senate allow to convene in a joint session knowing there are 23 Senators and almost 300 congressmen? What's the purpose of the Senate? We don't have a voice there, our votes won't matter, Lacson earlier said.

Lacson also pointed out that if a simple or basic legislation needed to be voted on the two chambers separately, what more if it was legislation to amend the Constitution.

Source: Philippine News Agency