Senator Win Gatchalian has thrown his support behind Senator Franklin Drilon’s Resolution of Both Houses No. 1, calling for a Constitutional Convention to revise the 1987 Constitution.
“Con-Con is the better vehicle for revising the Constitution. There are too many vested interests in Congress which could negatively affect the revision process. Genuine reforms will not be achieved through a Con-Ass,” said Gatchalian, a former two-term congressman in Valenzuela City.
According to Gatchalian, sensitive provisions in the Constitution such as the anti-dynasty clause, party-list system, and the economic provisions should be studied and amended accordingly by objective constitutional experts instead of politicians whose personal interests are at stake.
“The revision of the Constitution must be insulated from politics as much as possible,” said he.
In pursuit of a non-political constitutional convention, Gatchalian said he supports the inclusion of safeguards which would prohibit incumbent elected officials, losing candidates in the May 2016 elections, and members of political dynasties from serving as delegates to the convention.
Gatchalian would also push for the institution of high academic and professional qualifications for delegates to ensure that only seasoned legal minds and constitutional experts would be able to sit as delegates.
“We need to bring our best legal minds together to complete the transcendentally important task of crafting a new constitution, the charter which will serve as the covenant between the State and its citizens for generations to come,” said Gatchalian.
Although he understands President Rodrigo Duterte’s concerns about the high cost of a constitutional convention, Gatchalian explained that the long-term benefits of a constitutional convention outweigh the short term costs.
“We should not save any expense in revising the Constitution, especially since the Con-Con delegates will be debating the merits of a fundamental shift in our form of government, from unitary to federalist,” he said.
Gatchalian also noted that Con-Ass would take too much time from legislators’ schedules, potentially bringing legislative work to a standstill.
“Con-Ass would distract legislators from their primary work of passing laws, resulting in a long delay in passing the President’s legislative agenda through both houses of Congress,” said Gatchalian, a member of President Duterte’s super-majority in the Senate. (Aureli Sinsuat)