House approves on 3rd reading Charter change through hybrid con-con 

THE HOUSE of Representatives on Tuesday approved on third and final reading a bill detailing how a proposed constitutional convention (con-con) will make changes to economic provisions of the 1987 Philippine Charter.  

At the plenary session on Monday, 301 lawmakers voted yes, seven voted no, and none abstained.  

Congressmen on March 6 approved on third reading the resolution calling for a hybrid con-con. 

Under House Bill No. 7352, the Constitution will be amended through a hybrid con-con, where delegates will be elected and appointed. They will be paid P10,000 a day plus travel and lodging allowances.  

Election of delegates will be done simultaneously with the village and youth council elections in October. 

The Senate president and House Speaker will jointly select the appointed delegates who will come from the ranks of retired judiciary members, professors, economists, and lawyers.  

There will also be delegates from the medical, science and technology fields, labor, urban poor, farmers and fisherfolk, and business sector.  

Indigenous cultural communities, women, youth, veterans, cooperatives, persons with disabilities, senior citizens, and other sectors will also be represented.  

To qualify as a delegate, a person should be a natural-born Filipino citizen aged at least 25 years old and a registered voter.  

They must also have a college degree, except delegates representing the poor sector. Ex-convicts are disqualified.  

The national budget will fund the convention, which will run from Dec. 1 to June 30, 2024.  

Among those who voted against the bill were Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, Basilan Rep. Mujiv S. Hataman, Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel H. Bordado, Jr. and Party-list Reps. Arlene D. Brosas, France L. Castro and Raoul Danniel A. Manuel.  

Mr. Lagman and Mr. Manuel said political provisions of the Constitution, including term limits for elected officials, can be altered by those with an ulterior agenda. 

Ms. Brosas noted the swift passage of the resolution and its implementing bill, saying that with therecord speed and efficiency, grand sinister designs for the benefit of those in power must really be afoot.”  

Ms. Castro, for her part, told the plenary that Congress should instead prioritize measures that address the immediate concerns of the public like the super-rich tax bill and food security measures.”  

Mr. Hataman, explaining his no vote, called the billunimplementable because it still lacks Senate approval.”  

Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri, along with several other senators, previously said that Charter change is not the upper chambers priority. Beatriz Marie D. Cruz