House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday said that there need not wait for the Senate to start on the constitutional amendments since the Constitution does not dictate the need for a joint assembly for the two houses. File photo

Alvarez claims lower house started on proposing Constitution amendments
Kristine Joy Patag (philstar.com) - January 22, 2018 - 4:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday claimed that the House of Representatives is already in the process of amending the Constitution.

In a press briefing in the afternoon, Alvarez said: "We are starting. We are making a proposal to the people to revise the Constitution." He added that there is no need to wait for the Senate since "it is not needed."

The HOR last week adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 that seeks to amend the Constitution to shift to a federal form of government.

Alvarez said that the lower house will continue on its hearings, despite the strong criticism from the members of the Senate.

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Sen. Panfilo Lacson over the weekend stressed that the lower house cannot decide for both houses of the Congress, "not in the passage of the budget of law, as in any piece of legislation and certainly not in revising or amending the constitution."

But Alvarez, citing Article XVII, Section 1 of the Constitution, stressed that the two houses—House of Representatives and the Senate—are not mandated to convene, and only that a vote of 3/4 is needed from both houses.

"It is only a proposal, not an ordinary legislation that you will tell me is bicameral," Alvarez added.

The House Speaker also said that he never said the Senate cannot to join. "We welcome everyone, but it is them who do not want to join," Alvarez said in Filipino.

Malacañang, which earlier expressed the Duterte administration’s desire for a constitutional change to shift to federalism, said it would not meddle in the clash between the House and the Senate.

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