Home Senate considers “senate assembly” for charter change, sparks debate

Senate considers “senate assembly” for charter change, sparks debate

senate considers senate assembly for charter change sparks debate

MANILA, Philippines— The Senate is exploring amending its own rules to allow for the creation of a “senate assembly” that could recommend changes to the 1987 Constitution. 

The procedure and its potential effects on the country’s political landscape have sparked discussion since Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri revealed this proposal.

Zubiri explained that the move is necessary to expedite the discussion on charter change, claiming the current process is cumbersome and lacks clear timelines. 

He argues that by forming a dedicated “senate assembly,” composed of all senators, deliberations and voting can be streamlined, potentially leading to faster progress on proposed amendments.

However, critics raise concerns about the constitutionality and legitimacy of such a body. Some argue that the Constitution explicitly mentions Congress, not a “senate assembly,” as the institution empowered to propose amendments. 

Others worry that bypassing the House of Representatives, the other chamber of Congress, could undermine democratic principles and representation. Concerns also extend to the potential motives behind the proposal.

While supporters argue it’s simply about efficiency, opponents suspect ulterior motives, fearing an attempt to weaken safeguards against amendments serving personal agendas. 

The memories of past attempts to change the Constitution, some marred by controversy and accusations of manipulation, cast a shadow over the current proposal.

The current political climate makes the debate even more difficult. The current administration enjoys a majority in the Senate, potentially easing the passage of amendments through a “senate assembly.” 

However, such a move could be perceived as an attempt to consolidate power and raise questions about the fairness and transparency of the process.

Zubiri insists that public consultations and participation will remain crucial, even with the proposed “senate assembly.”

However, critics remain skeptical, urging for a more inclusive and transparent approach that upholds the spirit of the Constitution and respects democratic principles.

Sources: (1),(2)

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