Calling the current move to change the Constitution as a “desperate and overzealous attempt of House majority members”, at least 100 lawyers from the umbrella organization Alternative Law Groups composed of 18 law groups yesterday called for an end to this “senseless political adventurism of power-hungry legislators”.
“The move to change the Constitution through their so-called constituent assembly is nothing but a tyranny of the House majority. This political adventurism aptly called the House Majority’s Ass is perhaps the most impertinent, if not the most putrid disregard of the rule of law, strangulating the Constitution, ostracizing the Senate and sacrificing people’s interest for the selfish aim of President Arroyo and her cohort of legislators to perpetually stay in power,” said lawyer Marlon J. Manuel, ALG convenor.
Manuel claimed that the interpretation of President Arroyo and her allies at the House led by Speaker Jose de Venecia that the House, without the Senate, could by itself convene as a constituent assembly to change the Constitution “is clearly erroneous”. “The Constitution clearly provides that amendments to or revision of the Charter may be proposed by Congress. Since Congress is a bicameral body, composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives, then either one of the two houses of this bicameral body cannot do this task alone, without the consent of the other,” said Manuel.
In this case, Manuel said the House majority “arrogantly and unconstitutionally” acted on its own “not only without the consent of the Senate but over the latter’s objection.” “The planned action of the House majority to mangle the Charter through a bogus Con-Ass is a continuation of the desecration of the Constitution that started with the Malacañang-backed fake people’s initiative. It is a continuation of the disrespect that those belonging to the House majoity have shown towards their colleagues in both chambers of Congress. It is in fact a continuing self-indictment exposing to the people the political greed of House majority members whose term will end in the next few months,” said Manuel. Even assuming that there is no separate voting required for proposing constitutional amendments or revisions, Manuel said both Houses are still “obliged to agree” in performing such constituent function. “Thus, the issue of joint or separate voting should not be an issue in this case. The main issue is whether the bicameral Congress has decided to perform the task of proposing amendments to, or revision of, the Constitution. The clear answer is no, only the House has decided to do this,” said Manuel. Even the participation of a few or some of the senators in the so-called Con-Ass will not pass the test of constitutionality according to Manuel since “individual senators cannot be considered as the Senate, especially in this case when almost all the Senators, through a resolution, rejected the action of the House.”
ALG member-organizations in partnership with some 500 people’s organizations have started this week their nationwide protest against this bogus Con-Ass through press conferences, assemblies and vigils.
ALG members along with other lawyers from cause-oriented organizations trooped yesterday to the House of Representatives to show their “righteous indignation” against the unconstitutional move of the House majority for Charter Change. -30-
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