No To Con-Ass HR 1109!
we are publishing here posts from other blogs on the topic of Con-Ass HR 1109 to give readers a information and a sampler of the varied views and perspectives of pinoy blogs and bloggers.
we hope that after reading these views, readers of this blog will decide to take action on their own or to join other groups to take action.
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post is parsed, read in full from here, source of article: http://midfield.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/plans-to-fasttrack-con-ass-being-laid-sources/
Plans To ‘FastTrack’ Con-Ass Being Laid – Sources
With Congress on vacation until July 27. House Speaker Prospero Nograles is trying a new tack to resolve the controversy over his chamber’s railroading of the resolution calling for a Constituent Assembly to amend the 1987 Constitution even without the participation of the Senate.
The lawmaker from Davao City wants the Supreme Court, on it own volition (moto propio), to immediately rule on the constitutionality of House Resolution (HR) 1109 convening Congress into a Constituent assembly (Con-ass) to amend the Constitution without the participation of the Senate.
“It is my considered legal opinion that due to the public interest generated by Charter change, the Supreme Court may take legal cognizance of the issue and rule on the matter to prevent anymore protests and marches connected with the same,” Nograles said in a statement on Friday.
At least two petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court questioning the validity of HR 1109. Anti-Cha-cha forces have alleged that these petitions, including that presented by known Marcoa loyalist lawyer Oliver Lozano, are ploys of the administration efforts aimed at getting a swift ruling from the High Court.
Sources told this writer:
There are also intense back-channelling moves to convince Senators close to Malacanang to buy into a ‘worse case scenario should the Supreme Court does not act swiftly enough to legalize Con-Ass.
They are looking at the option of staging a ‘rump session’ where a ‘representative group’ of Senators will register their appearance at a special ‘joint sessiojn’ for the purpose of validating Resolution 1109 and calling the Constituent Assembly into Session,” at least three highly-placed sources in the Senate and House told this writer.
this post taken from here: http://wexistence.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/con-ask-a-forum-on-hr-1109-possibilities-and-challenges/
The Constitution has not been violated — yet. According to Fr. Joaquin Bernas, Dean Emeritus of the Ateneo de Manila Law School and renowned constitutional expert, HR 1109 expresses the intent to “gang rape” the Constitution, but the actual violation has yet to occur.
Our 1987 Constitution states that constitutional amendments “may be proposed by congress” but it does not specify whether or not the House of Representatives (HOR) and the Senate must be in joint session. Fr. Bernas is of the opinion that “what the Constitution does not prohibit it allows,” therefore with or without HR 1109, the HOR already is a Constituent Assembly. As such, it can propose amendments at any time. However, Fr. Bernas stressed that any amendments proposed by the HOR must be approved by the Senate.
HR 1109 stipulates that the HOR and the Senate would vote jointly—not separately—to amend the 1987 Constitution. Clearly, the HOR seeks to render the Senate useless, because the larger House membership could override any Senate objections to proposed amendments. Is this constitutional? Could the HOR actually proceed without the Senate?
Fr. Bernas says it could, but only if the Supreme Court is complicit. In which case, it would play out this way: The HOR would bring the amended Constitution to COMELEC for a plebiscite. A case would be brought before the Supreme Court. Supreme Court would rule that the proposed amendments were valid even without Senate approval. The plebiscite would proceed and the Filipino people would vote on the amended Constitution.
The approval of HR 1109 has sparked outrage from multi-sectoral groups all over the country who fear that charter amendments could pave the way for the Arroyo administration to remain in power. How real is the threat of term extension? Sec. Dinky Soliman described four possible scenarios:
- …The Supreme Court decides that a Senate less CONASS is valid. Plebiscite continues, it is a yes victory and the election of May 10, 2010 is an election for a parliamentary form of government. GMA runs on a district in Pampanga. She wins and becomes eventually the Prime Minister.This scenario assumes that the outraged and protest from the citizenry is weak.
- …The Supreme Court declares that Congress is a bicameral body therefore the Senate is needed. Election fever catches up. A presidential election is held in May 10, 2010.This scenario assumes that there is significant citizen’s lobby to stop CONASS and chahcha. The citizen’s actions is a major influence in the assessment and judgement of the justices in the Supreme Court.
- …There is building outrage from the citizens and more street actions are undertaken. Malacanang rides on the anger of the people and organizes violent incidents that will then be the basis for emergency rule. This scenario assumes that citizen’s actions are not organized and disciplined which creates the conditions for infiltration and manipulated violence from the enemies of democracy.
- …The debate and deliberation in the Supreme Court takes a long time and it gets overtaken by election on May 10, 2010. GMA runs for Congress in Pampanga she wins, the administration candidates win too. They get the Supreme Court go ahead and convenes a Constituent Assembly, converts Congress into a parliament and GMA is elected as Prime Minister. This scenario assumes that the 2010 election is dominated by the allies of GMA and her candidates wins. This scenario assumes that transactional politics was the dominant practice and cheating, vote buying and killing will be the norm in the election of 2010. This means the citizen’s action was weak and we failed to educate and mobilize active citizenship.
Fr. Bernas emphasized that term extension would only be possible with the cooperation of the Supreme Court and the military.
When asked if there was any indication which way the Supreme Court would rule, Sec. Soliman replied that presently the justices are being very careful. They know the implications of their decision and cannot be seen as having a position. Political analysts have raised the question, will “utang na loob” prevail in a decision made by GMA-appointed justices? Based on past decisions, Sec. Soliman said that the Supreme Court has shown that it is independent.
Sec. Soliman was less optimistic about the military. AFP Chief Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit’s loyalties clearly lie with GMA. He served as her PSG commander and she is an adopted member of his PMA Class (Class ‘78). It does not seem unlikely that Gen. Bangit would be complicit to a repeat of the 2004 presidential elections in which ranking military officers participated in massive election fraud or to emergency rule.
According to Rep. Guingona, right now there is a lot of confusion in the House. Even the proponents of the HR 1109 are all saying different things, no one seems to know what will happen next. What is clear is that (1) HR 1109 is the first overt step to change the constitution; and (2) There is a mastermind behind all this.
Rep. Guingona recounted the events at the House on June 2: “We were supposed to take up land reform. They did not continue… And you could feel their battering ram, like a railroad, you could feel the pressure. Let’s do this, let’s do this. They were ramming it on us… Imagine, this is changing the Constitution. And after four measly hours of debate, of interpellation, suddenly somebody stands up and moves that we close the debate and go into voting… Terrible, sickening, disheartening.”
“It is true, there was a threat. Those who would go against this charter change would receive no pork barrel,” said Rep. Guingona. “The CDF… is what is being used to control the congressmen and their votes.” Neither the CDF nor the funds for various pump-priming projects have been released.
HR 1109 is clearly just the tip of the iceberg. It is part of a much larger plot, but at this point no one is sure what that plot is. Term extension is a possibility, but there may be others that have not yet been identified. All we know is that it represents an insidious threat to our democracy.
What can we ordinary citizens do? We can be informed and be vigilant. We can express an opinion and make our voices heard. We can write our congressmen or write letters to the editor. We can raise awareness and educate others using our mobile phones, our blogs and our social networks. We can engage our families, our friends and our communities in dialogue. We can get involved with groups and organize rallies, concerts, foras and various other activities.
We cannot afford to sit back and be passive observers; there is too much at stake. If we want to live in a democratic society we need to fight for it. Now is the time to make our stand.
Noong Hunyo 2, sa kadiliman ng gabi, ginahasa ako ng mahigit 150 na kalalakihan. Kinaladkad nila ako sa isang malaking silid sa isang magarang gusali sa Quezon City at doon pinagpasa-pasahan at nilapastangan na parang isang kinatay na baboy.
Hinubaran nila ako ng damit hanggang walang natira ni isang saplot at kahihiyan sa aking katawan. Inihiga nila ako sa isang malapad at malamig na lamesa na mistulang altar at itinali ang mga kamay at paa ko sa apat na sulok nito.
Pinilit ko na maging matapang, na magmanhid na lamang ang katawan at pagkatao. Nagmakaawa ako. Nagsumamo. Humagulgol. Subalit tila mga wala silang marinig. Tila wala sila sa sarili nila, wala sila sa matuwid na pagiisip o talagang bulag lang sa kanilang kasamaan.
Matapos nila akong itali sa lamesa, isa-isa na silang nagparaos sa akin. Para lamang silang umiihi sa inidoro. Narinig ko habang sila’y naghahalakhakan, nagtatalo at binabati ang isa’t isa.
Naamoy ko ang mga mababaho nilang hininga, ang kanilang pawis at mga libag. Naramdaman ko ang kanilang mga maduduming kuko habang nakabaon ang mga ito sa aking mga suso. Naramdaman ko ang magkahalong gigil, galit, saya at kademonyohan habang binabayo nila ako’t ibinabaon ang mga ari nila at kung anu-anong bagay sa aking puke.
Lalo silang nasisiyahan kapag nakikita nilang nasasaktan, umiiyak at humihiyaw ako. Pinagsasampal nila ako. Sinusuntok sa sikmura’t mga binti. Dinuduraan.
May mga iilan sa kanila ang naawa sa akin at nagtangkang awatin ang mga kasamahan nila at ipagtanggol ako, subalit nilunod lamang ang pagtutol nila ng hiyawan, kantyawan at halakhak ng higit na nakakarami.
Kilala ko ang mga taong lumpastangan sa akin. Pinagkatiwalaan ko sila. Sila ang mga tao na inasahan ko na mag-aaruga sa akin, magtataguyod sa akin, magtatanggol sa akin. Hindi ko akalain na sila pa ang mangunguna sa pambababoy sa akin.
Wala na akong alam na malalapitan pa. Ikaw na lamang. Hindi na ako maaaring dumulog sa mga awtoridad o sa mga taong nanunungkulan dahil mga makapangyarihan at mayayamang tao ang lumapastangan sa akin. Sila ang mga naghahari, ang kumukumpas sa bawat takbo ng buhay dito sa atin.
Ang labis kong kinatatakutan ay marahil hindi pa tapos ang panggagahasang ginagawa nila sa akin, na sa darating na mga linggo at buwan ay kakaladkarin na naman ako at isasangkalan sa kanilang altar ng kalibugan at pagkagahaman.
Sana ay hindi ka magwalang-bahala na lamang.
.Labis na umaasa,
Konstitusyon ng Republika ng Pilipinas
H.R. 1109 — Constitutional Assembly
Honestly speaking, I know nothing about HR 1109 when it was deliberated last night in Congress. I’m oftentimes apathetic to politics because quite frankly, I don’t have much respect for those seated in office. There’s too much drama, politicking and self interest looming in all three branches of government save for the few people who are honest and remained in service with integrity.
I looked it up instantly and after reading articles and resources available to me (live audio feeds, twitters, news reports, copy of the resolutions, blogs) — I was alarmed! The very constitution that upholds my rights and freedom faces a threat — a possible charter change and possible death of our democracy. It all makes sense now, the merging of political parties was a precursor to the approval of the resolution such that majority vote is achieved and indeed it was.
Although I think that constitutional amendment is important, I cannot help but doubt the reason and timing of what just happened. 2010 election is coming up and with all the talks regarding extending the powers of the current administration, I fear for another Marcos running the country. The urgency of passing the resolution over more important issues such as agrarian reform is beyond my understanding. Why deal with this now when we have so many problems at hand? And virtually eliminating the power of senate to vote for/against any constitutional ammendment? Really now?
I may not have a complete grasp of the issue and have many things yet to know, yet I believe in my heart that the move of the majority of the Congress displayed last night was of pure self-interest. I am appalled and saddened by the lack of integrity and discretion of those who voted for HR 1109. If charter change is necessary then do it by way of a constitutional convention, at least I’d feel that there’s a safeguard for fairness.
I hope the Supreme Court will not let this pass. If not, then the collective power of the Filipino people will stop this bruhaha.
As a part of this nation, I will be informed regarding this issue. I will make a stand. I will not let my country rot. I will be vigilant in protecting my rights. I will break the apathy.
I oppose the Constitutional Assembly.
UP LAW FACULTY STATEMENT ON CHARTER CHANGE
Last Monday, 20 April 2009, the House of Representatives commenced deliberations on House Resolution No.737 (Proposing amendments to the Constitution to allow the acquisition by foreign corporations and associations of alienable public lands and private lands) via a so-called “fourth way” in which HR No.737 will be enacted as a proposal to amend the Constitution through the normal legislative process, except that the Resolution shall be passed by three-fourths of each chamber. Two days later, House Resolution No.1109 was filed calling upon the members of Congress to convene as a Constituent Assembly, upon the votes of three-fourths of all its members.
We, the members of the law faculty of the University of the Philippines, as teachers and citizens, are of the opinion that HR No.737 & 1109 are both without basis in law and ill-advised—
First. We should not confuse the need to innovate with the demands of expediency. The Constitution provides only three modes for proposing amendments—by initiative, Constitutional Convention, or Constituent Assembly. While Congress has the power to legislate, its powers do not include the ability to provide novel procedures for amending the Constitution. There is no legal basis for crafting a new way to amend the Constitution because the procedures for proposing amendments to it are exclusive.
Second. The Constitution clearly envisions an intensely collaborative process for proposing amendments to the Constitution. The Congress, when deliberating on proposals to amend the charter, exercises its constituent power as a unitary body, even as the members of the two Houses vote separately. In such a case, both Houses of Congress are transformed, to the extent required to perform their constituent powers, into a Constitutional Convention all of whose members deliberate as a single group. In separating the chambers of Congress into two constituent units, HR No.737 undermines the collaborative and deliberative philosophy implicit in Art. XVII §1(1). At the same time, HR No.1109, in seeking to convene the Congress into a constituent assembly even without the participation of the Senate, violates the principle of bicameralism essential to the legitimate operation of the Congress. The House has no authority to go solo on a matter that is even more important than the task of ordinary legislation.
Third. Explicit assurances that the amendments process will only be focused on the economic provisions of the Constitution do not insure against the contingencies inherent in the legislative process, especially when the stakes are high and the political environment is all but poisoned.
We, therefore, call on the House of Representatives to reexamine its priorities and work with the Senate on pressing legislative matters—agrarian reform, reproductive health rights, electoral reform—that impact the daily lives of our citizens; and instead of premature resort to courts of law, we call on the people to persuade their elected representatives that the way to promote progress in this country is through responsible legislation, not an inopportune and hasty overhaul of the Constitution.
Signed, April 23, 2009
Prof. Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, Dean
Prof. Froilan Bacungan, Former Dean
Prof. Salvador T. Carlota, Former Dean
Prof. Raul C. Pangalangan, Former Dean
Prof. Eduardo A. Labitag
Prof. Elizabeth A. Pangalangan
Prof. Dante B. Gatmaytan
Prof. Rowena E.V. Daroy-Morales
Prof. Theodore O. Te
Prof. Jose Jesus M. Disini, Jr.
Prof. Herminio Harry L. Roque
Prof. Florin T. Hilbay
Prof. Ibarra M. Gutierrez III
Prof. (E.) Leo D. Battad
Prof. Solomon F. Lumba
Prof. Rommel J. Casis
Prof. Ildefonso R. Jimenez
Prof. Concepcion L. Jardeleza
Prof. Jose C. Laureta
Prof. Antonio Oposa, Jr.
Prof. Carolina R. Austria
article parsed, read in full here: http://www.articleiii-4.blogspot.com/
But why is this obssession and unwavering insistence despite the strong public outrage against charter change? How could these congressmen not heed the public sentiment and risk political suicide? It is obvious that these congressmen, a lot of them lawyers and veterans of Congress, know that without the Senate an act of the House alone cannot pass constitutional muster, and yet there is this sinister confidence to proceed. I would concede there can be a valid debate between joint and separate voting, but to say that a joint session – the vehicle to jumpstart the debate – of both Houses could be achieved by HR 1109 alone would be the height of stupidity that does not even merit the passing attention of the Supreme Court.
The majority in the House might have just stumbled and bared its ulterior motive in following and revealing an absurd theory. Domogan and Antonino’s statements may have just revealed that all this fuzz about forcing a justiciable controversy is but a smokescreen for something bigger. The stupidity of their position with which they are so confident, coupled by their indifference to the public sentiment, are sending dangerous signals that something terrible is in the offing. Take note, this adamance – which is becoming exceedingly clear as deliberate – is stoking the fire of discontent and as I write this, preparations are underway for massive protests and rallies. The hubris is simply alarming. Nuff said.
article parsed, read in full here: http://chrisbonoan.blogspot.com/2009/06/this-thing-called-con-ass_08.html
Last Thursday the headline of the Philippine Daily Inquirer screamed the following lines, “Con-ass sparks outrage.” Who could not be? Unless you are in a deep coma or simply an impervious citizen of this nation, you should be outraged by the blatant actions of the majority of our Congressmen. The public indignation stemmed from House Resolution No. 1109 which seeks to convene Congress into a Constituent assembly and allows both Houses to vote jointly to propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution. For whatever its worth, it seems that the majority of our Congressmen need to glance once in a while to the significant provisions of the 1987 Constitution, the very document they sought to change.
In discussing the nature and function of a constituent assembly, one must first appreciate the relevant provisions dealing with amendments or revision under the 1987Constitution. Article XVII section 1 pertinently says, “Any amendment to or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon the vote of three-fourths of all its members, (2) A constitutional convention.” Section 2 of the same article however is limited to amendments, thus, “Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be proposed by the people through initiative…” Verily, there are three ways on how to propose amendments or revision to the constitution, viz; (1) Congress sitting as constituent assembly (2) A Constitutional convention and (3) the people by virtue of initiative. Let us focus on the first mode being the purported basis of the iniquitous House Resolution No. 1109.
As explained by the noted constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas, a Constituent assembly is nothing more than a body composed of men and women either elected or appointed officially empowered by the people through the Constitution to propose amendments to or revision of the Constitution. The Constitution by virtue of Article XVII section 1 (cited earlier) automatically converts the bicameral Congress into a constitutional assembly the moment it seeks to propose amendments or revision. But let us be clear on this owing to the ambiguity of the constitutional provision on the amendatory process. As I have observed, most opinion writers (same with my fellow bloggers) seemed to construe the “three-fourths vote” requirement as a necessary condition before Congress can act as a constituent assembly. To my mind, the “three-fourths” vote requirement cited above refers to the determination of Congress on whether to approve or reject the proposal for amendments or a revision. Necessarily they cannot do this unless they already sit as a constituent assembly by operation of Article XVII section 1 of the 1987 Constitution. This is what Fr. Bernas meant when he referred to the issue of converting Congress into a constitutional assembly as “superfluous talk.”
Going back, as worded, the 1987 Constitution neither requires an enabling act in the form of legislation nor a resolution before Congress can act or sit as a constituent assembly. But there seems to be no problem if Congress in the exercise of its rule-making powers, decides to pass a resolution in the form of an administrative measure “setting down how each house proposes to proceed in the exercise of the constituent power.” The function of a constituent assembly however, is not to be confused with the role of the electorate in the process of amendments and revision. A constituent assembly merely proposes or formulates amendments or revision, it does not amend or revise the Constitution. In essence, the proposal made by the constituent assembly partakes to the nature of a “recommendation” subject to the approval or ratification by the sovereign people through a plebiscite.
note: article parsed read in full here – http://chrisbonoan.blogspot.com/2009/06/this-thing-called-con-ass_08.html