SENATE President Franklin Drilon has joined the growing number of lawmakers calling for an overhaul of the Constitution, filing a draft resolution proposing a Constitutional Convention or Con-Con by next year.
Drilon on Sunday said he had filed Resolution No. 1 in which both houses of Congress would call for the election of delegates to a convention to propose amendments to, or revise, the 29-year-old Constitution. The election, Drilon added, would be held on January 30, 2017.
“The common good would be best served if the review of, and proposals to amend or revise, the Constitution would be made through and by a Constitutional Convention whose delegates are to be elected by the people for such purpose,” he said in a statement.
Drilon noted that there was a need to reexamine the Constitution to “determine if it is still attuned or responsive to the demands of present-day realities.” The Senate and the House of Representatives will have to vote separately on the resolution, he said.
Each region will elect delegates, who will have the same qualifications as members of the House, based on the number of legislative districts, Drilon added.
To ensure that the convention will be non-partisan, Drilon’s draft resolution stated, “No person who is a member of the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this resolution shall be qualified as a candidate for election as delegate to the convention.” Also barred from running are all candidates during the May 2016 elections.
Candidates cannot represent any political party, and all government officials and employees will be deemed resigned once they run as delegates to the convention, Drilon said.
Sought for comment, Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd, who is expected to become Senate majority leader, said proposed constitutional changes such as the shift to a federal and parliamentary form of government would take time because of lengthy debates.
“I will keep an open mind, I’m ready to listen,” said Sotto in a text message.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said he needed to study Drilon’s resolution first. “I need to read the resolution and clarify certain issues,” he added.