House leader: Con-con delegates may amend political provisions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 2) — The chairman of House Committee on Constitutional Amendments has admitted that there’s no stopping constitutional convention (con-con) delegates from touching the political provisions of the Charter.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez bared this on Wednesday before the session began.

A day after approving on second reading Resolution of both Houses No. 6 calling for a con-con, the House of Representatives started the period of sponsorship and debate on a bill laying out the details of its implementation.

Rodriguez sponsored House Bill 7352, the measure containing details of the con-con implementation, during the Wednesday plenary.

“We have to be clear on that. That if it is a con-con, we have elected and appointed delegates and they will be holding constituent plenary powers and so we cannot prevent them even if our resolution really says amendments to economic provisions,” Rodriguez told reporters.

“And we hope that our delegates will really just stick to economic amendments so that it will not be controversial, divisive. That is what we pray for,” he added.

Proponents of charter change in the House, including Rodriguez, have repeatedly stressed the urgency of amending the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution to attract more foreign investments.

In pushing for the bill’s passage, Rodriguez said a constitutional convention is the “most trusted” mode of amending the Constitution.

He said a convention would ensure a “balance of views” on the proposed amendments as there would be a mix of elected delegates and appointed sectoral representatives and experts.

“A constitutional convention to propose amendments to the Constitution is highly favored, being the most democratic, transparent, and inclusive of all modes,” Rodriguez said.

The committee chair said all lawmakers would be free to debate HB 7352 in plenary.

Rodriguez didn’t mention any target date for its approval but insisted that the House isn’t railroading moves to amend the Constitution.

CNN Philippines correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report