House, Senate agree to settle charter changes first, sets aside voting for later

House, Senate agree to settle charter changes first, sets aside voting for later

MANILA, Philippines — After days of exchanging words through the media, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Koko Pimentel finally sat down to address the issue.

During the meeting, the leaders of both houses agreed to set aside the issue on how they will vote on the proposed amendments to the charter.

Alvarez said they will create their own study group to finalize the amendments on the proposed federalism.

Here, the group will study all federalism versions including ruling party PDP-Laban’s own version.

Once they finish the proposals, they will have another discussion on how they are going to vote.

“If for instance, we will agree on every step, in the end, it doesn’t matter anymore whether we’re voting separately or jointly,” said Alvarez.

But according to Bayan Muna party-list representative, Carlos Zarate, the conduct of the study of both chambers must be open to the public to ensure transparency.

Especially since there are contentious provisions that might get included in the proposed new constitution, such as the term extension, no election and the proposal to dissolve independent government agencies.

“That’s dangerous because only a few people are deciding on the future of the country,” said Zarate.

Meanwhile, Speaker Alvarez just laughed off remarks of some senators who described the efforts of the House to push charter change as “pathetic” and “bullying.”

Alvarez said it should not be taken seriously.

“The fight was not serious, it’s normal. That way there will be fireworks to entertain you,” he said. — Grace Casin | UNTV News & Rescue

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