Constituent assembly now passé
Amending the Constitution is a very serious matter. A constitutional convention, where delegates are elected by the people to amend the Constitution, will produce better results than a constituent assembly where three-fourths of all members of Congress is needed to propose revisions or amendments to the Constitution. In both processes, the amendments or revisions of the Constitution will become valid only when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which must be held not earlier than 60 days but not later than 90 days after approval of the proposed amendments or revisions.
In a constitutional convention, there will definitely be a broader representation and expertise with the election of constitutional delegates. The members of Congress are primarily and mainly elected to enact laws and keep the legislative mill running. A constitutional convention will be much richer with people from various disciplines or with experience inside and outside the government service, as even nonpoliticians can be elected by the people to amend or revise the Constitution. Definitely, constitutional delegates will not represent political parties and rewriting the Constitution will, hopefully, be apolitical.
The main thrust will be a shift from unitary government to federalism. All sectors of society—the media, education, professional organizations, the business community, the youth, labor organizations, retirees from civil, military and police services—and just about everybody should expound their views and understanding of federalism, as this will be a major shift in our political system. These sectors should likewise be represented in the constitutional convention and their voices heard.
The reported P7.5 billion that will be saved if a constituent assembly will be constituted instead is a lame excuse to fast track the shift to federalism. We were made to understand that the old ways are passé. What is this?
APOLONIO G. RAMOS, Marikina City
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