Monday, February 19, 2018

‘Keep it simple, stupid’ — Alvarez tells Senate on Con-ass joint vote

Keep it simple, stupid.

That, according to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, is how the 1987 Constitution is to be interpreted as to whether the Congress, as a constituent assembly or Con-ass, should vote as one body or as separate chambers.

In a radio interview, he said the text of the Constitution is very clear that the Charter may be amended or revised with a three-fourths vote of all members of Congress.

“Ang mahirap kasi dito… gusto nilang bigyan ng ibang kahulugan iyong nakalathala diyan. Hindi tula ito na puwede mong bigyan ng ibang kahulugan. Batas ito… Laws must be interpreted kung simple, kung ano yung intindi noong ordinaryong mamamayan na kapag binasa niya iyan, iyon ang ibig sabihin niyan,” Alvarez said.

The Senate is insisting that voting should be done separately because the greater number of the House would render the Senate vote insignificant.

But Alvarez said the Constitution should be interpreted simply.

Sectjon 1, Art. VII of the Constitution provides that “any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by: “The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members.”

The Speaker said that even without the support of senators, a House vote could satisfy the requirement of a three-fourths vote of Congress, considering there are only 23 senators and 292 congressmen.

Asked if the House could proceed with the vote even without any senator attending the Con-ass session, Alvarez said, “Oo, kasi hindi man kami sinasabihan na kailangan may mag-joint session.”

He said he expects to discuss the matter with Senate leaders this week.

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