EDITORIAL: One Senate voice

In a rare gesture of unity, the Philippine Senate’s 24 members broke its silence on the controversial People’s Initiative that has been mobilizing around the country.

The senators signed a manifesto on Tuesday rejecting the people’s initiative that seeks to dilute the Chamber’s role in future efforts to change the Constitution.

The Senators are one in saying the PI is a sinister plot to amend the Philippine Constitution by eliminating the Senate in the equation.

In its manifesto, the Senate said: “While it seems simple, the goal is apparent. To make it easier to revise the Constitution by eliminating the Senate from the equation. It is an obvious prelude to future amendments, revisions, or even an overhaul of the entire Constitution.”

The main point of the PI narrative is to break the deadlock on Constitutional amendments and revisions. According to Art. XVII on Amendments or Revisions, particularly Section 1 (1) “Any amendment to or revision of this Constitution may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members;”

However, there is a gray area here. This crucial provision is silent on how the voting shall be done: should it be by “Voting Jointly” or “Voting Separately”?

This s the root of the disagreement where the House of Senate and the House of Representatives are at loggerheads.

A joint voting would give the Lower House the numbers 316 as against 24. Separate voting will give the issue the needed checks and balances.

It appears, one house wanted to dominate for obvious reasons. Having the majority would pave the way for the ultimate goal to cause amendments to the Constitution which could include a shift in the form of government, eradication of term limits and even dispensing with the election.

So when the smoke of battle clears, you know who sits as leader.

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