Aquino, Poe prefer constitution convention to amend current constitution

  • Changing the Constitution through a constitutional convention will ensure the integrity and transparency of the process and prevent politicians from adding “self-serving” provisions in the new charter, two senators said on 11 Jan 18.
  • Both Sens. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino and Grace Poe believe that changing the constitution should be done through a constitutional convention which would entail the election of delegates from the country’s legislative districts who would be tasked to draft a new chapter.
  • Aquino and Poe think that holding a constitutional convention would ensure that experts would be debating on the provisions of the new chapter and remove politicians, who may have self-serving interests, in the process.
  • Aquino said that holding a constitutional convention and holding a clean and transparent election of delegates would preserve the public’s trust in the efforts to replace the 1987 Charter.
  • Poe meanwhile said that the extent of the proposed changes to the Constitution, which the allies of President Rodrigo Duterte want to lead to a shift to a federal form of government, should warrant a constitutional convention, saying this is the “best and most acceptable” mode even if this seems impractical to some.
  • The 1987 Constitution prescribes three modes of changing the charter. Aside from a constitutional convention and a people’s initiative, a constituent assembly can also be called to proposed amendments to the charter.
  • In a constituent assembly, no elections will be held as lawmakers in the House and the Senate will act as the writers of the new Constitution, making it cheaper and supposedly more efficient.
  • However, critics of constituent assembly say that this is more susceptible to influence-peddling by politicians who have ulterior motives in amending the Constitution.
  • Aquino and Poe said that should Congress decide to use a constituent assembly, senators would stress that voting on the provisions of the Constitution should be done separately.

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