"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Saturday, November 04, 2006

‘Elections first, Cha-cha later’

Sen. Richard Gordon called on the House of Representatives to defer plans to pursue Charter change until after next year’s midterm elections. Gordon said he would even participate in the constituent assembly (con-ass) currently being pushed by administration lawmakers, if this is done after the elections.

According to Gordon, the right time to hold the con-ass is after the May 2007 elections, when members of Congress would have won a fresh mandate.

Gordon said efforts to unilaterally convene Congress without the Senate into con-ass are bound to fail. "It (con-ass) will move forward if the senators are included, and the voting is done separately," Gordon said. "If they do this on their own or with just a few senators, then this would fail."

Gordon noted the claims made by Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay, who said 194 congressmen have already signed a resolution pushing for con-ass. The same threat was issued by Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. who accused senators opposing Charter change initiatives of being "trapped in that political rot."

Gordon, however, emphasized that even with the participation of some senators, the voting must be done separately by the two legislative chambers.

Gordon warned the issue would open another legal controversy before the Supreme Court.

By Marvin Sy And Delon Porcalla
The Philippine Star 11/05/2006