The Constitution grants to the Congress a special power that Edcel Lagman & Co. want to call the Constituent Power of the Congress:
Art. XVII Section 1(1) Any amendment to or revision of the Constitution may be proposed by the Congress upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members.Allowing this neologism seems harmless enough and provides a compact way of referring to this much cut-n-pasted provision.
But after amending its own Rules last night to enable it to pass Resolutions proposing charter changes without seeking Senate concurrence as in the normal legislative process, the House leadership would next like to please be allowed to convene the Congress into a Constituent Assembly. For this purpose, it will later today debate and attempt to adopt the following New House Rules for Con-Ass:
RULE II think it is important to understand the exact nature of the Resolution mentioned in Section 2 of Rule I that will be adopted for the purpose of convening Congress into a Constituent Assembly. Since the Constituent Assembly does not even exist before said Resolution is approved, this Resolution can only be a simple House Resolution in form and in substance. It surely is not a Senate Resolution, nor a Joint Resolution of the Congress, nor is it a Resolution of the Constituent Assembly it is meant to establish and convene.
Section 1. Any amendment to, or revision of, the Constitution may be proposed by the Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members.
Section 2. A constituent assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution may be called by three-fourths of all Members of Congress in a Resolution adopted for this purpose.
Section 3. When proposing amendments to the Constitution, Members of Congress act, not as representatives and/or Senators, but as component elements of a constituent assembly exercising constituent power which is separate and distinct from legislative power.
Let me say this in no uncertain terms. The Resolution mentioned in Section 2 of the proposed House Rule I on Constituent Power is a Resolution of the Lower House of the Congress. Nothing more and nothing less. Indeed, it will proclaim that fact on the Title Page as An Act or Resolution of the House of Representatives of the Congress of the Philippines.
BEFORE the Congress convenes itself into a Constituent Assembly for the purpose of exercising its Constituent Power, all the Members of the Congress act in their natural capacity as elected Senators or Representatives.
BEFORE the Congress has convened itself into a Constituent Assembly, the Constituent Assembly does not exist and thus the Members of Congress are not yet the "component elements" of a Constituent Assembly as described.
All the Members of Congress are either Senators or Representatives. No Member of the Upper House may participate in the votes of the Lower House. No Member of the Lower House may participate in the votes of the Upper House.
WHO then may vote on the House Resolution to call the Constituent Assembly, according to Rule I Section 2? WHO may sign upon the House Resolution calling for a Constituent Assembly according to the proposed House Rules.
ONLY Members of the Lower House may vote on said House Resolution.
NOT ALL the Members of the Congress can vote on said Resolution, since it is a House Resolution. The Members of Congress called Senators cannot simply be invited to sign a House Resolution in some kind of metaphysical capacity. That would be absurd.
The vote implied in Section 2 does not involve ALL the Members of the Congress at all then. How can it produce a result that is three-fourths of ALL the Members of the Congress. Such a vote can produce between 0% and 100% of ALL the Members of the Lower House, but it is NOT a vote by ALL or 100% of the Members of the Congress. It is a vote involving the exact fraction 236/260 or about 91% of the Members of the Congress.
Since we are being strict about English Composition nowadays and plain readings are in, it would seem to me that the new House Rule on Constituent Power is void ab initio for violating the plain meaning of the Constitution that ALL the Members of the Congress participate in a vote that is won by Three Fourths Majority Rule to propose charter changes.
By amending its Rules last night to do away with Senate Concurrence in any proposal to change the charter, the House has created a LOGICAL TRAP from which its amusingly aberrant and disordered ideas on Constituent Power can perform for our amusement.