Amending the Constitution via Constitutional Convention (ConCon) is the “most ideal way” to revisit the 1987 Constitution that was ratified almost 36 years ago, lawmakers said.
House Committee on Human Rights chair Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” M. Abante Jr. in a television interview explained that his proposal to call for a ConCon would allow voters to choose the delegates that would deliberate on and propose amendments to the Constitution.
“If we are to amend the Constitution, the best way to do it is via a constitutional convention,” said the Manila lawmaker, who said that this mode “allows our people to have a direct hand in choosing the delegates who will represent them in the convention,” he said.
“Voters can look at the qualifications of the candidates and weigh their sincerity, and even ask these candidates what revisions they plan to propose should they become elected,” he added.
According to Abante, “To guard against self-interest and undue influence, we are proposing that sitting government officials be prohibited from running in the election of ConCon delegates.”
In addition to this, under Section 9 of House Bill 6698 authored by Abante, “any person elected as a delegate of the Constitutional Convention shall not be eligible to run for any public office or position in the first local elections to be held after the ratification of the new Constitution.”
The ConCon will be composed of one delegate representing every legislative district. Delegates must be at least 35 years of age, a qualified voter, and a natural born Filipino citizen.
Abante also reiterated that even at the end of the ConCon, voters would have the opportunity to review and vote on the proposed amendments.
“We have to remember that whatever the ConCon proposes will still be presented to the people, who will vote to adopt or reject these via a plebiscite,” added the lawmaker.
For his part, Kabayan Rep. Ron P. Salo has also called for a ConCon to amend the 1987 Constitution as some of its provisions have become “less responsive to our people’s needs.”
“It has been 36 years since the adoption of our Constitution, and crucial developments in our society and in the global arena over the years and the present social and economic realities have rendered some parts of it less responsive to our people’s needs,” Salo remarked as he filed House Bill No. 6920.
In the explanatory note of the bill, the veteran lawmaker noted that the current Constitution contains numerous restrictions impeding the flow of foreign capital in specific areas of the country’s economic activity.
“These restrictions have been found to hamper economic growth, dilute the competitiveness among the country’s industries, and ultimately stunt national development over the years,” Salo explained.
Salo also noted that the restrictions on foreign ownership are designed to prioritize Filipino citizens, but it limits the country’s capability to generate the requisite capital to boost the economy and develop our natural resources.
“It is high time to liberalize such restrictions to encourage the free flow of capital into the country and enhance its global competitiveness,” Salo said.