Constitutional Convention – coming soon!

Tomorrow, 15 September 2009 ought to be the last day the Committee on Constitutional Amendments have to deliberate on that House Concurrent Resolution that calls for a Constitutional Convention to propose amendments to, or revision of, the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and the accompanying House Bill that implements the same – both as have been principally authored by its Chairman, Rep. Victor F. Ortega.

After a series of committee hearings, the Technical Working Group so created to come up with its various recommendations on the Comparative Matrix of Constitutional Convention Measures headed by Rep. Barzaga should be about through with its final recommendations that would pave the way for the preparation of the Committee Report which would then be deliberated upon at Plenary. What is interesting to note here is the fact that there had been no document whatsoever that purports to contain the proposed amendments or revisions should the ConCon been established. That is not to say however that Chairman Ortega did not mention, on record, that he can volunteer to give the committee a copy of 30 to 40 proposed amendments that were researched by his committee staff.

What will be taken up tomorrow would only focus on the calculations with regard to the budget for this ConCon as would be determined by the TWG. All the nitty gritty of the resulting ConCon proposal are deemed to have been sufficiently discussed, debated, and voted upon with the requisite quorum and participation of any contrarian. In other words, the democratic criterion could be said to have been reasonably met. At no point in time can anyone then claim that the entire ConCon was a fiasco or that it was railroaded.

After tomorrow’s possibly last committee hearing, ConCon has effectively come into existence, officially. And all that may be finally required is for this resolution and bill to be voted upon after a presumably smooth flow of sponsorship, debate and discussion. There are no signs whatsoever that anything would obstruct its final passage by the House of Representatives. That is sure quite different when the move to propose charter change via ConAss was met with violent reaction from society writ large.

ConCon did not invite disaster. Why?

Observers of trends may be led to ask – is ConCon better than a ConAss? We must have struck a cord here. For truth is, with the birth of this ConCon, it did not effectively shelve aside that earlier ConAss resolution which has been already approved in so far as the House of Representatives is concerned short of its transmittal to the Senate.

Thus, the real scenario is this – there is an existing House Resolution for a ConAss as well as a distinct and separate House Resolution for a ConCon at the House of Representatives. That almost explains the existence of the best possible scenario as well as the worst possible scenario, come to think of it should any of two options be resorted to. Malacanang is uncharacteristically silent and the otherwise turbulent political waters seem calm. Wouldn’t there be anymore a shift to a parliamentary form of government as would prepare the ground for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to become its newly-installed Prime Minister?

The whole task of setting the public mood for whatever possible scenario may be chosen is part of territory. It is not difficult for GMA to convince everyone to bat for a ConAss and for the same to pass even at the Senate. To my mind, GMA can always resort to BF Skinner’s tested paradigm of the “Ideal Society” wherein she will just share the bounty, call it ‘loot’ if you will, in order to court favor from across intelligences. It bears watching what happens next.