Skip to content

Junk ConAss, Kill Cha-Cha (UPDATED)

June 4, 2009


Are there true Patriots in our midst?

I ask this question in the wake of the naked assault on the integrity of the Philippines’ republican democracy as manifested by the attempt of the House of Representatives to force the enactment of changes in the 1987 Constitution without the Senate’s participation in the convening of a Constituent Assembly.

To be be fair, tyrannical as it was, the midnight action remained within that chamber’s legislative prerogatives.

But the shameful action must end there.

Outside the massive citizens’ protests now unfolding to thwart the evil design of changing either the form of government or the transitory provisions to extend the term of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the only way to prevent full blown national turmoil is for the Senate to keep the faith.

Keeping the faith means our Senators must consign House Resolution 1109 to the dustbin of unlamented history.

What Patriot Senators must do when the legislature returns from its recess in July is to simply withhold action on 1109 after it is reported by the chamber secretariat as having been transmitted by the House of Representatives.

When it is referred for First Reading by the Committee on Revision of Laws and Constitutional Amendments they must muster the courage, the integrity to sit on it, to withhold action after it is reported out for Second Reading where it should lie and die there through to the end of 2009 and after Filipinos go to the polls onMay 10 2010 to democratically elect a REAL President.

We challenge Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to be true to his word that they will not become the bedfellows of GMA’s congressional lapdogs.

Let this be the legacy of Enrile and his colleagues: the preservation and protection of the integrity of the Republic and the sanctity of the Constitution.


Over at

Law professor Abe Margallo writes in part:

“… there is a fundamental constitutional principle that has been infringed by the very purpose given for House Resolution 1109, which purports to create a “justiciable controversy . . . (that) shall ripen for judicial determination as and when this Resolution calling upon members of Congress to convene in exercise of its constituent powers is filed, heard and approved.”

To begin with, the amending the process, which is at the heart of the Constitution of Sovereignty (the other divisions of the fundamental law is the Constitution of Liberty and Constitution of Government) is a highly political process. It is that part of the Constitution which reminds us that the people have the “final say” on how they want to rule and be ruled. Our system of government will lose any claim or pretense to being a democracy if this principle is set aside. For a political decision of immense consequence like this, it is always wise and preferable that the people themselves or their alter egos specifically chosen for the purpose (a constitutional convention) propose changes to the Constitution.”
Second of all, since the amending process is a political process, the court is NOT part of it as a matter of constitutional principle. The unaccountable judiciary gets involved only in a very narrow sense which happens when its duty to define constitutional limits is called upon in appropriate cases.

Hence, when not so called upon, judges take a passive role or stay in the sidelines, allowing the political agencies of the government full sway to effect such changes to the constitutional system as they consider apt and necessary. The people are therefore deemed to observe and respect their own self-imposed limitations as contained in the amending process or their chosen agents do it right from the start in the light of those limitations.

If there is then any doubt as to the political and/or constitutional correctness of the intended or desired changes to the Constitution, every effort should be exerted to resolve those doubts in open public debates rather than in secret deliberations of unaccountable judges.

That’s how an ordinary law is enacted: laws are not passed with the thought of submitting them to a final judicial veto. And that simply is the reason why the vast, vast majority of legislations become operative and final without any judicial intervention.

So, why shouldn’t proposals to change the fundamental law of the land deserve at least equal treatment as any proposed ordinary legislation? Why shouldn’t the House do it right the first time without any legitimating judicial intervention aforethought?

As noted above, the Senate is unanimous in declaring the House scheme unconstitutional, the public sentiment is overwhelmingly against it, and no one (not even any of the sponsors of HR 1109) appears interested to debate the merits and demerits of the only intended amendment specified in the resolution in question, i.e., to amend the economic provisions in the Constitution.

From the foregoing treatise what needs to be done becomes more abundantly clear:

Junk ConAss, Kill Cha-Cha

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: