Senate-House summit proposed before con-ass

THE Senate and the House of Representatives must sit down and talk to end the political bickering over the mode of amending the 1987 Constitution, Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

He proposed a summit to allow the two Houses of Congress to iron out differences.

Both Houses are amenable to moves to amend the Constitution. But while the House is pushing for joint voting under a constituent assembly, the Senate wants separate voting.

The House adopted on Tuesday, January 16, a resolution calling on both Houses to convene a constituent assembly.

The Senate, in a caucus, agreed to boycott the constituent assembly.

“I think a summit is necessary so we could smoothen out the rough edges of this decision and we'll come up with the rules and guidelines,” Zubiri said at the Kapihan sa Senado.

He appealed to members of the House of Representatives to stop spreading talks about the abolition of the Senate.

“Ang apela ko sa House of Representative, all talks of abolishing the Senate will not help the cha-cha (charter change). Let's tone down the rhetoric,” Zubiri said

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said that even if the 24 senators vote as one, they “would suffer fates worse than those who were swamped by the Fukushima tsunami in Japan some time ago.”

There are more than 290 members of the House of Representatives. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said they can very well meet the required two-thirds of Congress vote to amend the Constitution.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, for his part, said cha-cha is already “dead” in the Senate because of time limitation.

“Clearly, we cannot do it in 10 session weeks, not to mention the possibility of the Senate being an impeachment court once again, not to mention we have to pass other laws as senators, as members of Congress,” Recto said. (PS Jun Sarmiento/SunStar Philippines)
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