Con-Ass or 'Ass' Only? (Editor's Note: It's Doubly Hard to Convince Voters in the Ratification Drive That Only One House of Congress Can Amend the Charter as Noted by the Author.)
Byline: Romeo V. Pefianco
COFFEE shop regulars and guests are divided, though not equally, on the power that can amend or revise the Constitution.
Can 236 congressmen revise the Charter?
The first question: Can one house of Congress alone voting 236 to none (or all members of the House) act on all amendments or revisions of the 1987 Charter?
The retired prosecutor declared that the final authority is the ratification process or approval by the majority of all voters numbering about 40M.
The Cory Constitution was ratified by the voters on Feb. 2, 1987 with a convincing vote of 75 to 80 percent of all registered voters or those who voted in the 1984 election of members of the National Assembly.
Exclusion of the Senate
Comments of the retired prosecutor: "One body of Congress, to the exclusion of the other, cannot claim final authority on the fate of an existing Constitution. Even an ordinary law is passed by two houses. The mainstream voters are fully aware that only Congress, consisting of the Senate and the House, not either or, can change the Charter."
The retired colonel, one of the ranking officers of the AFP's judge advocate general, said that the ratification requirement "means that Congress should provide funds for this process, say R2B. The House and the Senate need to appropriate tax money for a specific purpose -- that is to ratify the draft Charter. Without the Senate can the House and the Palace validly spend R2B of tax money?"
Ratification as crusade
The campaign to ratify the proposed constitution in 1987 was supported by President Cory's high popularity rating. Her accession to the presidency was immediately recognized by the power bloc worldwide and the ASEAN nations.
The US, European nations that counted the great powers, North and South American countries and Japan (the world's second richest economy) were the first to support Cory.
Popularity of a cause
President Cory had exercised executive and legislative powers before the new 1987 Congress convened in July, 1987. Based on the voter turnout and approval Cory was more popular than candidate Ramon Magsaysay in the November, 1953 polls. …