Pichay says they are standing on firm ground with the Constitution:
Article XVII - Amendments Or Revisions - Section 1.Since they have the numbers WHY NOT file the threatened House Resolution proposing a revision of the Constitution and submit it to the Comelec for Plebiscite to be synchronized with the 2007 Midterm Elections? (There are 236 House Members and 23 Senate Members there are a total of 259 Members of Congress. The smallest whole number that just exceeds three-fourths of 259 is 195, said to be the Magic Number for Unicameral Con-Ass.)
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; or
(2) A constitutional convention.
Why don't the Con-Ass proponents just file a House Resolution with Comelec if they "have the numbers" (which I believe they do)?
I think it is because even if a House Resolution proposing amendments to or revision of the charter were to be signed unanimously by ALL the Members of the Lower House, it would only still add up to an ACT of the Lower House, not an ACT of the Congress.
Without looking at the substance at all, it is therefore obvious that a House Resolution is insufficient in form to qualify as an Act of The Congress.
That is why there has been no House Resolution filed with Comelec for the purpose of proposing any amendment to or revision of the Constitution. They don't want an historic Supreme Court ruling striking down the House as an impostor of The Congress and their House Resolution as woefully insufficient in form and thus failing the Constitution's most direct and simple demand that any amendment to or revision of the Constitution may be proposed by The Congress.
It is not "the three fourths of all the Members of Congress" that propose amendments or revision, it is The Congress that does so. One thing for sure, even if unanimous, a House Resolution is not an Act of The Congress. And it is certainly not the Lower House of Representatives that the Constitution empowers to amend or revise it.
Postscript on P.I.
Lawyer Marichu Lambino is the newest BLAWGER in my Blogroll. (via MLQ3)
Just in time too -- as she weighs right in on that beguiling Supreme Court Minute Resolution denying the Sigaw ng Bayan Petition with finality but ending with the following statement:
Ten (10) Members of the Court reiterate their position, as shown by their various opinions already given when the Decision herein was promulgated, that Republic Act No. 6735 is sufficient and adequate to amend the Constitution thru a people's initiative."Like a chicken bone flung out from the sorry remains of some fowl's carcass for the dogs to chew on and possibly choke on, this little morsel has been hungrily seized upon by Raul Lambino and Butch Pichay, who are determined to read into it a glimmer of hope, a hint of possible victory. But it is of as much consequence as if the Court had solemnly declared: "On the day before yesterday, the Sun rose in the East and set in the West."
After all, what is a "Reiteration" by Ten (10) Members of the Court of certain things they said in various concurring and dissenting opinions recently? Is it a Decision or a Resolution of the Court? No. Is it a Reversal of any previous Decision or Resolution of the Court? No.
A vacillation or inconsistency perhaps, as Butch Pichay claims? Maybe. It could be seen as an admission of embarrassment over that ruling in Santiago vs. Comelec (1997) which found Republic Act No. 6735 "inadequate" to implement people's initiatives, but not "unconstitutional" or the more definite "insufficient in form and substance." Well par for the course for the Court that invented "constructive resignation" and made a euphemism for coup d'etat ("withdrawal of support") an accepted Principle of Regime Change (just get the Supreme Court Chief Justice to swear you in!)
Anyway, Welcome to the local scene online, Marichu Lambino! Move over Ed Lacierda, Fred Pamaos, Connie Veneracion. There's a new Blawger in town.
Voting Separately or Voting Jointly?
It has been publicly admitted by the Founding Father Joaquin Bernas, S.J., that the framers of the 1987 should really have put one of the two phrases "voting separately" or "voting jointly" into the provision that empowers The Congress to propose any amendment to or revision of the Constitution--that there is an unavoidable ambiguity in the provision that needs disambiguating (a Wiki word).
But WHO can actually settle this issue? Does the nation have to go through another submission to Comelec followed by a Supreme Court ruling to do so? That would be par for the course around here, which is to say, insane. But there is actually a simpler way...
The Congress itself can settle the issue by a simple Act of the Congress adopting the Rules of the Congress when it invokes Article XVII Sec.1(1) to propose amendments or revisions of the Charter.
Of course, such Rules can only be adopted in the usual manner of The Congress, by a simple majority of both Houses of the Congress (i.e., voting separately!).