ConAss to ConCon – a paradigm shift

At the committee level, the ConCon move is deemed ‘inaugurated’ with the final approval of all the provisions of the un-numbered House Concurrent Resolution and all the sections of the implementing House Bill on the last meeting of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by Rep. Victor Ortega.

But it is not as if the ConAss resolution itself has been killed. It is in the ‘freezer’.

Legislators in the so-called Lower Chamber systematically take it for granted that ConAss will not pass muster in the Senate. Thus, the menu has been prepared and this ConCon apparently has smooth sailed in time under the liberating stewardship of Chairman Ortega who can be credited to have filled every conceivable ‘intellectual void’. In short, it was subjected to open deliberation and debate.

September 22 can then be marked as the historical date ConCon was constructed. Its next route is to go plenary after being coursed to the Committee on Appropriation on the budgetary requirement of P2 billion for the Constitutional Convention to proceed with its business.

At the Plenary, there are little signs that it will not be voted upon for adoption in the case of the resolution and for approval in the case of the concomitant bill. At best, some usual rituals of “moro moro” can happen but after all is said and done and they have to be voted upon, it is sure as sunrise that the ayes will have it, viva voce or not.

Thus, if the Senate does not approve of a ConAss, it has no option not to approve of a Concon. Fact is, there is already a counterpart measure proposing a ConCon come 2010. That being the case, the door is made wide open for the legislative branch of government to – amend or revise – the Constitution.

Surveys may have, wittingly or unwittingly, influenced how people feel about any move or attempt at changing the present Constitution. It is possible that many are against charter change more so when the mode taken will be the ConAss. But it seems that people can sit well with charter change under a different mode – this time – a ConCon. But in the final analysis, either mode will yield quite the same scenario. In other words, it is one and the same banana. How foolish can we get as a people in the end is beyond me.

The trick is pulled. Now, Congress is quite confident that people themselves will ratify the ConCon in a plebiscite held for the purpose. In the end, the seeming opposition to a charter change dissipates in thin air. Perhaps, the Fourth Estate must have just hyped the whole issue of shift to a parliamentary form out of proportion.

So we have a ConCon – are there real oppositors now?

Legislators would have us believed that in the short-lived process of introducing amendments or revisions to the Constitution, it will not promote the vested interests of the ConCon delegates nor that of the pre-existing oligarchy.

From where I stand, I don’t see of the possibility for them to change the currency for to begin with, the upcoming ConCon delegates will be elected from every legislative district and that goes without saying that those who will be finally elected come from the same “upper middle class households” as they are with those who will be elected as the regular congressional representatives of their respective districts.

The State will cough up some P2 billion for this one-year undertaking with appropriations for personal services, maintenance and other operating expenses, capital outlay and contingency funds. It will pretty much replicate all the requirements of the present House of Representatives – organization, function, and budget – wise.

In principle, it splits from the House of Representatives.

The question now is this – when will the next surveys be done as a tool to validate whether or not, people would really go for charter change now that the menu is changed from ConAss to a Concon?

Be it ConAss or ConCon, tinkering with the Constitution in its entirety is nothing but a “devil workshop” and might lead to a situation where the devil is in the details, matter-of-factly. It bears watching what kind of a “monster” the new framers of the Constitution will be able to create for our realpolitik in the 21st century.

It is waiting game.