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Lagman: Con-Ass will only turn into Duterte’s rubberstamp

Jan 4, 2018 @ 14:48

Albay first-district Rep. Edcel Lagman expressed opposition to turn Congress into a constituent assembly in the move to revise the Constitution, saying it would only become a rubberstamp of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“A strong argument, if not the strongest, against constituting the House of Representatives and the Senate into a constituent assembly is that the supermajority solons will convert the constituent assembly into a virtual rubberstamp of President Rodrigo Duterte,” he said on Thursday.

“With the projected constituent assembly principally composed of Duterte’s dyed in the wool allies, what the President wants as amendments or revision will be delivered with alacrity and minimal debate,” the Magnificent 7 lawmaker said.

He was reacting to statements by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that Congress would focus on convening itself into a Con-Ass to change the Constitution and shift the country into a federal form.

“This imprudent fast tracking happened in the two extensions of martial law in Mindanao and the approval of the reimposition of the death penalty by the House of Representatives,” Lagman said.

“Since amending the Charter affects the present and future generations, proposed amendments for the people’s ratification must be approved only after serious and deliberate consideration even as the assembly authorized to propose the amendments must not be dominated by partisans of the President,” he added.

Lagman said, “Verily, a constitutional convention must be called where the delegates are elected by the sovereign people to singularly and precisely propose amendments to or revision of the 1987 Constitution.”

He dismissed the argument that a constitutional convention would be more costly than a Con-Ass.

“We must not count centavos and pesos in undertaking a charter change by asserting that a constituent assembly is less expensive than holding a constitutional convention,” Lagman said.

“It is not a question of expense but a matter of independence and integrity,” he added.

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