Joint voting on Cha-cha pressed

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — A NEOPHYTE lawmaker has elevated the Charter change issue to the Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorari.

In his petition, Bohol Rep. Adam Relson Jala questioned the constitutionality of the Rules of the House of Representatives, particularly Rule 20 Section 140, on proposals to amend the Constitution by Constituent Assembly.

Jala asked the High Tribunal to order the Lower Chamber to follow the joint voting procedure mandated by the Constitution.

In a press conference, Jala said that the issue of amending the Constitution is different from an ordinary legislative matter and should be jointly voted by the House and Senate.

Based on Rules 20 Section 140, proposals to amend or revise the Constitution shall be by resolution which may be filed at any time by any member. The adoption of resolutions proposing amendments to or revision of the Constitution shall follow the procedure for the enactment of bills.

But Jala assailed the second paragraph of the provision which according to him will lead to “inescapable interpretation” that adoption of such proposals must be by separate voting of the two Houses of Congress.

The rule simply means that after acquiring the necessary three-fourths vote of all members of the House of Representatives, the proposal must be submitted to the Senate for another three-fourths vote.

“In my humble legal opinion, the separate voting interpretation is an unconstitutional procedure. The Constitution simply requires joint voting,” he said.

Jala said that the House approval of such proposal to amend the Constitution will be wasted if the Senate will not act on it.

“The foregoing cited rules in relation to the proposals of amending or revising the Constitution is inconsistent with the Constitutional provision which in plain language only requires three-fourths vote of all the members of Congress to adopt the said proposals or revisions as a Constituent Assembly. This means that the Constitution simply requires a joint voting,” Jala’s petition stressed.