House deputy minority leader Lito Atienza on Tuesday said the P8 billion that the country will spend for a Constitutional Convention (Con-con) is a good “investment” for the future.
“If we can spend P26 billion to elect a president that we will replace in six years, and to choose members of Congress as well as local officials that we will replace in three, surely we can spend P8 billion to pick delegates to a Constitutional Convention that will draft us a new Charter that is bound to outlast a generation,” the Buhay party-list Representative said in a statement.
“We should not hesitate to spend for the preparation of a new Constitution that could free up the national economy from the clutches of oligarchs, build genuine peace and order, provide full employment and guarantee every Filipino family a rising standard of living,” he added. “Congress should treat the spending for a Constitutional Convention as an investment in the future of our children, and in the future of our children’s children. We should not treat it as an expense.”
Atienza was reacting to the statement of Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas that convening Congress into a Constituent Assembly would cost only P2 billion.
“This is the first time in nearly 30 years that we will be rewriting the 1987 Constitution. We might as well invest wisely in perfecting a truly responsive and highly relevant new Charter through a Constitutional Convention,” Atienza said.
“Next year, we will be spending another P6 billion for the barangay polls. Is the House majority telling us that electing barangay officials that we will replace in three years is more important than voting for a Constitutional Convention? We can spend P6 billion for the barangay polls, but we cannot spend P8 billion for a Constitutional Convention?” he added.
In a Con-con, the people will elect representatives who will recommend amendments to the Constitution.
In a Constituent Assembly, Congress will introduce modifications to the Constitution.
In both cases, the proposed changes will have to be approved by the people in a referendum.
Atienza is strongly opposed to a Con-Ass because according to him, members of Congress were not expressly chosen by voters to propose Charter changes, but were elected primarily to craft new laws.