Press Release
May 30, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said he is afraid that the public is being fed with the illusion that positive results will come out from the Senate-House dialogue to reconcile their differences over Charter Change when actually the opposite is true.

Pimentel said the dialogue between the Senate and House of Representatives on Charter Change is bound to fail unless the House panel will drop its hard-line stance that proposed amendments to the Constitution must be voted jointly by the two chambers of Congress.

Pimentel said there is no way the senators would give up their position that amendments must be voted separately by the Senate and House of Representatives in accordance with the 1987 Constitution, as affirmed by delegates to the 1986 Constitutional Commission and borne out by records of proceedings of the Con-Com.

The senators, according to Pimentel, will never agree to a patently unconstitutional and farcical set-up in which they will always lose in the voting because of the overwhelming numerical superiority of the congressmen.

If we will vote as one body 23 senators and 236 congressmen, we will always end up as the minority. We will be gobbled up by the congressmen, Pimentel said.

The conflict between the Senate and House over the issue stemmed from vague provision of the Constitution (section 1, Article XVII on Amendments or Revisions) which states that any amendment to, or revision, of this Constitution may be proposed by the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members.

Pimentel argued that since Congress has a bicameral structure, every bill, resolution or amendment to the Constitution should be voted upon separately by the Senate and House.

He challenged the Senate-House panel on Charter Change to seek the authoritative views of constitutional experts and delegates to the 1986 Con-Com if only to break the protracted stalemate over the issue.

In the absence of any indication that the Senate and House will budge from their respective positions, Pimentel said it may be futile to continue with the dialogue.

I dont see the proposed Constituent Assembly happening. I think its dead, he said.

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