Press Release
April 21, 2009


If the House of Representatives passes the Nograles resolution by mere majority vote, then it will be unconstitutional. We are not allowed to conflate an ordinary bill with a charter change resolution. There is simply no correspondence between the two measures.

If the Nograles resolution is limited to economic provisions, then it is only an amendment, and not a revision. An amendment is limited only to specific provisions. Revision covers the entire Constitution.

But whether amendment or revision, the vote required is three-fourths of all the members of Congress. Any vote less than three-fourths is unconstitutional. For example, to pass a charter change resolution in the same way as an ordinary bill - by mere majority vote - is unconstitutional.

The reason for this is that the power of charter change is NOT part of the legislative power of Congress. Instead, the power of charter change is part of the inherent power of the people, who have spoken through the Constitution.

The power of Congress to pass laws is derived from its legislative power. By contrast, the power of Congress on charter change is derived from the Constitution. This difference was emphasized by the Supreme Court in the 1967 case of Gonzales v. Comelec.

The Constitution provides for charter change under Article 17 entitled "Amendments of Revisions." The Constitution does not include charter change under Article 6 entitled "Legislative Department." This is textual proof that a charter change resolution should not be treated like an ordinary bill. It would be like comparing a dilis to a whale.

The Nograles resolution, even if it follows the Rules of Procedure of the House of Representatives, is unconstitutional. By requiring only a majority vote, it contravenes the constitutional provision that charter change should pass by a three-fourths vote.

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