CONGRESS may need to obtain a final ruling from the Supreme Court (SC) on how the legislature should vote in a constituent assembly (Con-Ass) to amend the Constitution, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Friday.
The senator said he will agree to a Con-Ass if the High Court issues a clear and final ruling on the way members of the House of Representatives and Senate should vote.
“I will not vote to allow ourselves to be part of that Con-Ass that is only based on a joint resolution between the House and Senate,” Lacson said in a news forum.
He pointed out that while Congress can convene through a joint resolution and vote separately to amend the Constitution, there is also no stopping anyone from questioning it before the SC.
“Although a joint resolution has the effect of a law, it still can be reversed by a Supreme Court ruling if and when someone questions it and it would be too late for us,” Lacson explained.
“What if we’re in the middle of the process and all of a sudden somebody questions it, then the court ruled that voting separately is unconstitutional? Then the joint resolution becomes ineffective, we cannot also back out from that Con-Ass because we already allowed ourselves to be part of the process,” he added.
He said it is for this reason that the legislature should seek a clear interpretation of the constitutional provision involving amendments or revision of the charter.
Article XVII (amendments or revisions) section 1 of the Philippine Constitution states that “Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) a constitutional convention.”
The Constitution did not clearly state if the Senate and the House of Representatives should vote jointly or separately.
Lacson said the vote of the Senate with its 24 members will not matter if voting is done jointly because the House has at least 293 members.