Press Release
December 6, 2006

Transcript of Sen. Franklin M. Drilon's interview
with ANC on Charter Change

SFMD: The Constitution provides for a bicameral legislature and would require that resolutions such as amending the Constitution must pass through the two chambers. Last year, the House passed a resolution wherein the House convened itself into a Constituent Assembly. This resolution was referred to the Senate for our concurrence precisely because our Constitution requires our concurrence. That Constitution provision is reflected in the Rules of the House and when they amended the Rules of the House, in effect, they disregard the Constitution.

Q: Do you think these congressmen violated the Constitution?

SFMD: This is in violation of the Constitution because more than a rule of the House, is the rule of the Constitution. That is reflected in the rule of the House.

Q: What can be done about congressmen who commit unconstitutional acts while in office?

SFMD: The action can be corrected by the Supreme Court in the appropriate proceedings after the House of Representatives have gone to the Comelec to set the date for a plebiscite. I expect the Comelec to do the cha-cha. They will set the date of the plebiscite. And at that point, the moment the House of Representatives would bring this resolution proposing amendments to the Constitution to Comelec, we can go to the Supreme Court and ask the Supreme Court, as the final arbiter of disputes, to uphold the Constitution as they have done in the past.

Q: You are saying it is inevitable, the resolution calling for Con-Ass and the resolution calling for amendments to the Constitution will both pass?

SFMD: I have no doubt about that. It is tyranny of numbers.

Q: You don't think anything can be done to these congressmen to penalize them of their acts?

SFMD: I don't think so, considering that this is a political act on their part. It will be the voters in the proper forum, in the election, where they will be held to account for their actions.

Q: All elective officials having been sworn to uphold the Constitution during the course of their duty, they have to be answerable as well, perhaps to the institutions that hold them to that post?

SFMD: The institution is Congress. So how do you expect, as a reality, Congress as an institution to look into this transgression of the Constitution where it is controlled by the majority. There is no sense in invoking that power to discipline its members when it is controlled by the majority who run roughshod over the rights of the minority, and run roughshod over the Constitution.

Q: The intent of the Congress is to invite the Senate to join them in convening the Con-Ass. What do you think is the possibility of that happening?

SFMD: The invitation has no legal effect. It is our concurrence with the resolution constituting us into a Constituent Assembly, which would be necessary. A simple invitation will not comply with the Constitutional provision that the Senate must concur in the resolution constituting Congress into a Constituent Assembly.

Q: A resolution such as that, will it already pass through the Senate?

SFMD: No, the resolution will follow the procedure outlined in the Constitution for passage of laws and will go though the Committee on Constitutional Amendments.

Q: Congress is confident they will get the three-fourths vote to pass the amendment that they want

SFMD: That is correct but before they do that, they must first pass the resolution constituting the two chambers into a Constituent Assembly. That is the first resolution that they will pass. And that resolution clearly requires the concurrence of the Senate voting separately. The House recognized that a year ago when they sent to us the resolution requesting our concurrence to constitute Congress into a Constituent Assembly.

Q: At what point can the Senate intervene in this process?

SFMD: The Senate will not intervene in the process of the House. Notwithstanding the total lack of courtesy and total disregard of the Constitution, we will not intervene in the House. We will intervene by bringing the matter to the Supreme Court at the appropriate time. And the appropriate time comes when they pass both resolutions and ask the Comelec to set the date for the plebiscite.

Q: Submitting the resolution to the Comelec will be your signal to go to the SC?

SFMD: That is the proper time because it is at that time when there is a justiceable case, meaning there is now a cause to go to the SC because there is a real conflict. As of this time, the amendment to the rules of the House is internal to them. The passage of the resolution constituting ourselves into a Con-ass, they can claim is a matter internal to them. But the moment they go to the Comelec, to seek a setting of the plebiscite, then we can go to the Supreme Court. At that point, they will be asking the Comelec to spend taxpayers' money for a patently illegal exercise of the plebiscite, and therefore, the Supreme Court can issue a restraining order. (end)

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