Philippine Constituent Assembly Shut Down by Supreme Court

The attempt of neophyte Bohol Congressman Adam Relson Jala (3rd district) to constitute the House of Representatives and Senate into the so-called Constituent Assembly or ConAss voting was turned down by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, en banc, has dismissed the petition filed by Jala in relation to the Resolution, which he also filed at the House, according to the national daily, which came out the banner story yesterday.

Jala filed the said petition “for certiorari, prohibition and/or mandamus,” questioning the constitutionality of Rule 20, section 40 of the Rules of the House of Representatives for the purpose to form the ConAss to vote as one to overhaul the Charter.

This writer tried yesterday to contact Jala who is Manila but only got a word or two because he had an overtime work at the House Friday night. But he admitted he has filed the said petition but did not explain for lack of material time.

As this developed, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo seemed unperturbed as she remained firm and even endorsed the Cha-cha, news reports said.

“Mrs Arroyo was seen to have pushed the fast-tracking of a ConAss through the petition of Re Jala before the high court,” the paper said.

The young congressman asked SC to validate the joint voting of the House and Senate to revise or amend the Constitution, it was learned.

It will be recalled Jala filed Resolution No. 730, establishing the ConAss for the purpose of drafting and proposing amendments to the 1987 Constitution particularly to establish a Unicameral Congress.”

Jala charged that the assailed House Rule “is violative of the Constitution as the provision requires three-fourths votes of all the members of the Congress, voting separately.”

Rule 20, section 40 of the Rules of the House of Representatives states that “the adoption of resolutions proposing amendments to or revision of the Constitution shall follow the procedure for the enactment of bills,” which Jala wanted to be declared to be unconstitutional.

Jala, according to the report, argued that Congress acting as ConAss in amending the Charter is no longer exercising its ordinary function of legislation so the bicameral nature of the Congress would no longer apply. – by Ric Obedencio

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