Senator Win Gatchalian is calling on the leadership of both chambers of Congress to present a “realistic and workable timetable” for the push for charter change which would pave the way for the country’s shift to a federal form of government.
“Based from their pronouncements last week, Senate President Pimentel and Speaker Alvarez will start to lay the groundwork for discussions of this once the session is resumed on January 15. But they first need to produce the timetable, a realistic and workable one, to get us going. Essentially, I want to meticulously look into its details since the idea of federalism being floated over the news is still broad. We need to be clear with the details and not rush the process,” he said.
Gatchalian also said that any timetable proposing the postponement or cancellation of the scheduled May 2019 national and local elections would be unacceptable.
“The democratic functions of our government should not be put on hold for any reason, not even for charter change. The May 2019 elections must go ahead as scheduled,” the senator explained.
Last week, stalwarts of the administration party announced that they would push Congress to convene in a Constituent Assembly (ConAss) as a cheaper and practical approach of revising the 1987 Constitution, compared to a separate election of delegates to form a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con), which would cost the government an estimated P7 billion.
With the looming ConAss, Gatchalian believes that the Senate and House of Representatives should respect each other’s independence and separately start with their own deliberations on the proposed amendments.
“We should observe checks and balances as co-equal chambers of Congress, and therefore separate voting on the draft Constitution should no longer be put into question,” Gatchalian said.