House flexes supermajority power to approve con-con resolution on final reading

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
House flexes supermajority power to approve con-con resolution on final reading
Members of the House of Representatives led by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez and Majority Leader Manuel Jose "Mannix Dalipe" gather for a photo following the approval of the Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 of the Congress of the Philippines calling for a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution, March 6, 2023.
House of Representatives

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 9:15 p.m.) — An overwhelming 301 House of Representatives lawmakers have voted to pass on final reading a resolution calling for a constitutional convention to amend the 1987 Constitution.

Only six lawmakers — all of whom are from the minority bloc — voted against the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 6. There was one representative who abstained.

The final approval of RBH 6 on Monday, which sped through the lower chamber in a week after hurdling the committee level, moves the House closer toward approving the implementing bill that proposes changing the 1987 Constitution through a hybrid constitutional convention.

To the celebratory cheers of lawmakers during the plenary session, Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro), House constitutional amendments committee chairperson, said: “Let's take a moment with this very historic moment.”

During a caucus before the House plenary session, an overwhelming 93% or around 300 lawmakers of the 316-strong lower chamber agreed to be named as co-authors of the resolution to signify their support for rewriting the Constitution’s economic provisions.

“We are at the cusp of making history today. With this great number, we can now be likened to the 300 Spartans that made a last stand in the Battle of Thermopylae,” Rodriguez said during the caucus.

Rep. Paolo Duterte (Davao City) issued a statement after the plenary session and said he voted against the measure due to "more pressing social and economic issues" than changing the Charter. His vote was not counted in the initial tally.

Voting as jeepney drivers fight for their livelihood

The House’s “overwhelming display of unanimity” in amending the Constitution, as described by Rodriguez, took place on the first day of a week-long transport strike staged by transport groups who fear loss of livelihood in the government’s phaseout of traditional jeepneys.  

Rep. Arlene Brosas (Gabriela Women’s Party), who voted no to the resolution, reminded lawmakers that they chose to devote today’s plenary session to the hasty approval of the resolution instead of heeding the calls of jeepney drivers’ and operators’ who opposed to the government’s modernization program.

Brosas added that the economic amendments being pushed by the House’s leadership would result in “further massacre” of the livelihood of jeepney drivers and operators due to the possibility of 100% foreign ownership of public utilities.

This means that the phaseout of Public Utility Vehicles is, in effect, “part of the agenda of Charter Change, including the piling up of more modern jeepney units that cannot be purchased by operators,” Brosas said in Filipino.

Brosas added that she objected to “this insidious orchestration to rewrite the Consitution” as it would open the country’s economy to “full-throttle foreign plunder” and expand Marcos’ political power.

House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro (ACT Teachers Partylist) also scored the lower chamber for dragging its feet on measures that would provide subsidies, salary increases and wage hikes in different sectors, including transportation.

In comparison, bills establishing the country’s national minimum wage have been pending at the committee level since 2022.

Castro added that the transport strike today was a “loud cry for help” among drivers and operators for the government to address their concerns not just with the fleet modernization, but also with rising costs of fuel and price inflation of commodities.

The resolution was previously amended on its second reading to limit Charter changes to just the economic provisions — a supposed precaution that Castro said will not prevent Congress from going ahead with political amendments due to the “all-encompassing” power of the plenary. 

House Speaker Martin Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Dalipe, Rep. Rodriguez, Rep. LRay Villafuerte (Camarines Sur) and the Kapatiran Party. are the principal authors of RBH 6.

The implementing bill for the hybrid constitutional convention involves the election of 253 delegates from all the country’s legislative districts to a body that would vote on amendments to the Charter.

According to the bill, at least 20% of the convention will also be made up of appointees from Congress that would represent marginalized sectors.


Editor's Note: An earlier version of this report mistakenly stated that five of the six lawmakers who voted against the resolution in the initial tally were from the minority bloc. This has been corrected, since all of them were from the minority. The update also includes Rep. Paolo Duterte's quote.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with