Press Release
July 28, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the administration-sponsored Charter Change will remain in a state of inertia for as long as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos allies in the House of Representatives will not renounce their unconstitutional proposal for a joint voting of the House and Senate on proposed amendments to the Constitution.

Pimentel said Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. was only trying to appease Malacañang and to shore up the sagging spirits of Charter Change proponents by vowing to secure the approval of the resolution to convene Congress into a constituent assembly in the next 100 days.

Joe de Venecia can always dream as he is used to dreaming. Charter Change will not pass mainly because the House wants joint voting, he said. The Senate as a body is against it. Therefore there is no way Charter Change can be done now.

The Senate is for the two chambers of Congress to vote separately on all amendments because that is the correct way as attested to by the framers of the 1987 Constitution, Pimentel said.

Besides, he said all the previous acts of Congress were never subjected to joint voting in keeping with the bicameral nature of the legislature.

If mere changing of the name of the street or creation of a new town requires separate voting by the Senate and House, Pimentel said the more this constitutional procedure should apply in the matter of amending the Constitution.

Therefore, Pimentel said the House should blame itself why Charter Change remains in a comatose state in Congress.

The lone senator from Mindanao said the threat of the House to go it alone due to the Senates resistance has turned out to be a dud.

Months after that threat was first made, the resolution on Charter Change is still several congressmen short of the 195 signatures representing two-thirds of House membership supposedly required to convert the House into a constituent assembly with or without Senate participation.

Pimentel maintained that Mrs. Arroyo is taking advantage of Charter Change to ensure her political survival by diverting the peoples attention from the scandals hounding her administration.

Pimentel also said administration allies should not jump with joy just because the latest Pulse Asia survey showed that 40 percent of Filipinos now favor Charter Change.

The Pulse Asia survey does not distinguish between those who want Charter Change per se and those who believe that Gloria maybe removed through Charter Change. Hence, the survey results, even if authentic, are not conclusive.

Even assuming it is true that nine million Filipino voters have signed up in the peoples initiative to amend the Constitution, Pimentel said the legal obstacle of its lack of enabling law remains unresolved.

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