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Jun 28th
Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Proposal to Hold Con-Con Election in 2010 Opposed
Proposal to Hold Con-Con Election in 2010 Opposed PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Friday, 05 September 2008 18:20

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today maintained that it is better to convert Congress into a Constituent Assembly than to call a Constitutional Convention to amend the 1987 Constitution as he disagreed with a proposal to hold election for Con-Con delegates in 2010.

Parañaque Rep. Ed Zialcita has suggested that the Con-Con delegates be elected simultaneously with national and local officials in the regular 2010 elections. Mr. Zialcita said this will dispel apprehensions that the amendment process and adoption of a federal system may be used to extend the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.


Senator Pimentel said if the election for Con-Con delegates, the President, senators, congressmen and local government officials is held at the same time, the issue of shifting to a more responsive system of government and other constitutional reforms will be overshadowed by partisan politics.


“If the candidates for Con-Con delegates campaign at the same time as politicians running for national and local government posts, chances are they will be eclipsed by the political candidates and there will be no intelligent discussion of constitutional issues,” he said.


Senator Pimentel said another disadvantage of this proposal is that this will set back the timetable for federalism while the problems that it seeks to address – the uneven economic growth and distribution of resources among the regions and the Muslim insurgency – are crying for immediate solution.


Out of the three methods of amendments (Con-Con, Constituent Assembly and people’s initiative), Senator Pimentel said a Constituent Assembly is the most expedient, least expensive and easiest to manage.


Senator Pimentel said as much as P6 billion may be needed for a Con-Con but the government will be spared of a huge expense if the job is entrusted to a Constituent Assembly. This is because a Constituent Assembly, composed of incumbent senators and congressmen, will use the same session hall and meeting rooms and tap the services of the same technical staff in performing their extra duties.


“You will need a lot of money to defray the expenses for the election of Con-Con delegates, to pay for the salaries and allowances of the delegates and their staff and for the maintenance of their session hall and meeting rooms,” he said.  # # #

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