By Catherine J. Teves, PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) believes the country’s 1987 Constitution must be amended wholly and not partially only as proposed by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.
“Our position in Philconsa is for amending the entire
Constitution,” former Ilocos Sur Rep.Mariano Tajon told the Saturday Forum at Annabel’s in Quezon City.
He noted such action is already due since the Constitution, written by a Presidential appointed Constitutional Commission, has several provisions that are controversial and defective.
Reports earlier cited Enrile as favoring amendments to the Constitution’s economic provisions, particularly those covering the 40 percent cap on foreign ownership of property and control of investments in the country.
Belmonte also cited land ownership, utilities and media as his Charter change targets.
But Tajon is skeptical about such proposals to amend only certain provisions of the Constitution.
“Every provision in the Constitution is connected to and
interrelated with one another,” he said.
That means a constitutional provision and its corresponding State policy in the Charter must be aligned with each other, he noted.
“We can’t change a provision and leave out other related matters in the Constitution,” he said.
He cited as an example the Constitution’s Article XII (National Economy and Patrimony), noting the corresponding State policy for this is specified in the Charter’s Article II Sec. 19.
Such Sec. 19 provides that “the State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos,” he said.
Philconsa’s Manolo Gorospe also raised the need to look into the country’s present-day Constitution, saying several of its provisions need overhauling.
“About 82 of the provisions are still without enabling laws.” he also said during the forum.
Among such provisions are those on retirement in Armed Forces of the Philippines and on political dynasties, he noted.
He’s questioning validity of proposals to amend constitutional provisions that aren’t even being implemented due to lack of corresponding enabling laws.
Tajon further said constitutional convention (con-con) must be the mode for amending the Constitution.
Such mode will enable people with fresh ideas to be con-con delegates so they can help develop a better constitution for the country, he noted.
“Through con-con, we can generate good ideas,” he said.
He pointed out such advantage more than compensates for cost of carrying out a con-con.
In 2009, authorities estimated con-con to cost taxpayers some PhP2 billion.
Con-con is one of three constitutional modes for amending the 1987 Philippine Charter.
Such Charter also provides that Congress may propose constitutional amendments “upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members.”
Constitutional amendments may likewise be proposed through the people’s initiative mode “upon a petition of at least 12 per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein,” the 1987 Charter states.