Press Release
October 5, 2009


The proposal to hold a Constitutional Convention after the May 2010 elections can be an acceptable compromise after the failure of the administration-backed moves to change the system of government through a Constituent Assembly and people's initiative, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said.

Pimentel was reacting to the approval by the House committee on constitutional amendments of a joint resolution to elect delegates to the Con Con simultaneously with the election of barangay officials in October, 2010 and the allocation of P2 billion for the expenses of the amendatory body. The resolution will be submitted this week for plenary debate and voting by the House of Representatives.

"That is better than nothing. However, it would be best if the Con Con elections are held separately from other political exercises," he said.

Pimentel said he understood the reason why the election of Con-Con members has to piggyback on the barangay elections, which is to spare the government of huge expenses that it can ill afford given its financial constraints.

He said the advantage of holding an election solely for candidates to the Con Con is that it will enable the people to focus on constitutional issues and reforms instead of being bothered by local political issues.

Pimentel himself has filed Joint Resolution 10 authorizing Congress to convert itself into a Constituent Assembly to amend the Constitution and install a federal system of government.

The senator from Mindanao pursued the federalism proposal as his primary advocacy to end Muslim insurgency and hasten the country's economic growth. But he himself chose to put the proposal in the backburner after noting that Malacañang has been cashing in on it to push its version of Charter Change that would allow President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to circumvent the constitutional ban against her reelection.

Pimentel said there are pending resolutions in the Senate to call a Con-Con after the 2010 elections. But he said he is not sure whether the senators are inclined to put the proposal in the legislative bill.

"With the current preoccupation of the senators, particularly those who are running for president and vice president, they seem to have lost interest in Charter Change for the moment. Perhaps, they are afraid that the revival of Charter Change may only spoil their presidential ambitions," he said.

The minority leader said that the proposals to shift to a parliamentary structure and federal form of government will likely dominate the agenda of Con Con should its convening be approved by the Senate and the House.

Pimentel said if the Senate goes along with the House in holding a post-election Con Con, there will be more or less a certainty that this long-overdue endeavor will be pursued under the next administration.

However, if the Senate ignores the proposal, this will consequently mean a rare opportunity wasted since nobody knows if the incoming president of the republic will agree to undertake Charter Charter so early during his or her term.

News Latest News Feed