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‘Bare positions on Cha-cha’

ONE HOUSE. Congressmen pose with Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez after adopting House Resolution 1562 on Monday night, expressing their ‘unwavering solidarity and support’ for the leader from Leyte and upholding the House of Representatives’ ‘integrity and honor’ after their plenary session. Ver Noveno
Maricel Cruz & Macon Ramos-Araneta

Dalipe dares senators for public stances on economic changes

A House leader on Tuesday dared senators to bare their position on economic constitutional amendments, saying it should be an election issue for those wishing to run for the Senate in next year’s midterm elections.

House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe said the public deserves to know who are for and who are against Charter change to allow them to make an informed choice in voting for senatorial hopefuls in the 2025 polls.

“This is my challenge now to all senators: Why don’t you 24 [senators] come out in the open? Who are in favor of amending and updating the 37-year-old Constitution? Who are against it? Come out in the open on this issue,” Dalipe said in a press briefing in response to the Senate’s apparent decision not to keep its promise to have the Resolution of Both Houses 6 (RBH6) approved by March.

Senator Sonny Angara, who heads the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, on Monday said the Senate will not be rushed into proposing changes in the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

This put into question Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s earlier commitment that the Upper Chamber would be able to finish the deliberations before Congress adjourns for the Holy Week recess.

RBH 6, which calls for a constitutional convention to amend the Charter, was filed by Zubiri, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, and Angara himself.

House Speaker Martin Romualdez

“Let’s tell the whole country who are in favor and who are the oppositors so that the people of the Philippines will decide whom to put in the Senate come 2025,” Dalipe said, adding that the Senate’s apparent new timeline to pass RBH6 by October 2024 was already way too late.

Dalipe urged members of the Upper Chamber to be transparent so as to end the impression that the House and the Senate are bickering over efforts to amend the Constitution.

At least two former senate presidents – Vicente Sotto III and Franklin Drilon – said only President Marcos can end the conflict between senators and congressmen.

“Public interest is not served by the present conflict between the two houses,” Drilon said.

Sotto, for his part, called the verbal exchange between House and Senate leaders as “very injurious” to the country.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte on Monday called for the “restoration of dignified discourse and a recommitment to the principles of inter-chamber respect and courtesy” in Congress.

Villafuerte, president of the National Unity Party, said the integrity of the House and its members have recklessly and unfairly been put into question by the surprise move by senators to make them the subject of their ongoing inquiry into the people’ initiative.

“The NUP wholeheartedly endorses this resolution, and we pledge to defend the independence and integrity of this House as we remain committed to the relentless quest for our nation’s sustainable progress and prosperity,” he said.

Villafuerte was referring to House Resolution 1562 which expressed the chamber’s “unwavering solidarity and support to the leadership of the honorable Speaker Romualdez and upholding the integrity and honor of the House of Representatives in the face of intense assault from the Senate in violation of the principle of inter-parliamentary courtesy and undue interference in the performance of its legislative and constituent functions.”

Senator Imee Marcos, however, denied senators are deliberately attacking House members.

“We are not fighting back. We are not attacking, but we were just explaining to the public what should be the policy,” she said, adding that she was also “tired of this conflict.”

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