House OK’s on 2nd reading Charter change through hybrid con-con

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

Lawmakers voted by voice to pass House Bill 7352, which will enforce a resolution calling for a constitutional convention. Congressmen on Monday approved the resolution on final reading.

Under the bill, members of the hybrid constitutional convention will both be elected and appointed.

The public will elect delegates during village elections in October. The Senate president and Speaker will appoint delegates who will be paid P10,000 daily and get travel and lodging allowances.

Iloilo Rep. Lorenz R. Defensor justified the compensation for delegates. “A con-con is a co-equal body similar to that of Congress,” he told the plenary. “We want to put at the same footing the members of the delegates in terms of giving them a per diem similar to the compensation received by our legislators.”

Party-list Rep. Raoul Danniel A. Manuel, one of the six lawmakers who voted no to the resolution calling for a constitutional convention, told the plenary more than P400 million is needed to pay the delegates alone during the entire convention.

Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel H. Bordado, Jr., who also voted no, called the allowance for delegates a “huge expense that is a contradiction of all the budget cuts we imposed this year, especially for programs that could have provided immediate aid to Filipinos.”

Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, another lawmaker who voted no to a constitutional convention, sought to ban the relatives of incumbent officials from being delegates. The House committee on constitutional amendments had rejected the proposal.

The national budget will fund the convention. The convention will run from Dec. 1 to June 30, 2024. — B.M.D. Cruz