On Wednesday, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments approved a motion for Congress to adapt a constituent assembly (con-ass) to amend the 1987 Constitution.
With a vote of 32-7, including three abstentions, con-ass was deemed as the panel’s preferred method to push for federalism.
Although this is just the beginning of a possible charter change, this brings us one step closer to a federal type of government under the Duterte administration or thereon.
Basically, there are only three methods of changing the Constitution and a constituent assembly is one of those.
Under con-ass, the congressmen and senators will draft the new Constitution.
The second method is constitutional convention (con-con), where delegates are either elected or appointed by the public to form the new Constitution.
Lastly, a people’s initiative calls on the petition of at least 12 percent of the country’s voting population.
So what does the Lower House adapting con-ass mean for the rest of us?
According to Buhay Representative Lito Atienza who voted against con-ass, it will be a “breach” of the trust the people granted on them since they were elected to prioritize their respective constituents and not to amend something as big as the Constitution.
Others also fear that politicians might place their personal agenda in the mix if con-ass is used to craft a new set of precedents.
However, con-ass does have its merits as it is significantly cheaper and quicker to complete than other methods.
Con-con, on the other hand, has constraints especially since holding an election for delegates, apart from providing them offices and staffing, will cost billions.
Yet it is a better method than con-ass if you factor in that the public will get a chance to join the crafting of a balanced Constitution.
When everything has been said and done, we just hope that the government remains for and by the people, whichever of the three methods emerges as the precursor for federalism.