All 11 Cebu lawmakers vote ‘Yes’ for Con-Con bill

ALL 11 legislators from Cebu voted in favor of the bill that will establish a constitutional convention (Con-Con) for the amendment or revision of the 1987 Constitution. The bill was approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

This was revealed by Lapu-Lapu City Lone District Rep. Ma. Cynthia Chan to SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, March 15.

Chan said she voted in favor of the bill because the current charter “is already 36 years old,” believing believe that “some of its provisions are already obsolete.”

“We have to amend and/or revise the same for us to keep up with time. For our country to move forward and be progressive, we really have to adopt with the changing times,” she said.

Cebu has 11 legislators in the House of Representatives, representing seven legislative districts, two lone districts (cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu) and two districts of Cebu City.

Voting 301-7 without abstention, the House approved House Bill (HB) 7352, or the proposed Constitutional Convention Act.

Fifth District Rep. Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco, one of the co-authors of HB 7352, said their call for a Con-Con is an effort in acknowledging the need of the country to become “globally competitive and attuned with the changing times.”

“As such, we deem it significant to revisit certain ‘restrictive’ economic provisions in the Constitution with hopes that their amendments can pave the way for our country to attract more foreign investments and, eventually, generate more jobs and income opportunities for the Filipino people,” he said.

The congressman noted that Sections 2, 10 and 11, Article Xll of the Constitution provide for certain limitations on foreign ownership and investments in the country.

“While we understand that these are in line with advancing our national economy and patrimony, it is about time that we also consider keeping up with global economic developments and expanding our productivity as the key to raising the quality of life for all,” he said.

Frasco stressed that extensive studies have already shown that such particular economic provisions in the Constitution need to be revisited and revised.

7 “No” votesThose who voted against the bill were Camarines Sur Third District Rep. Gabriel Bordado, Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro, Davao City First District Rep. Paolo Duterte, Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, Albay First District Rep. Edcel Lagman and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel.

Brosas strongly rejected the Con-Con, noting that such an amendment to the Constitution is dangerous. She said the bill does not indicate the term limit of the delegates, form of government, provisions against martial law and the bill of rights.

The lawmaker also said the government will use public funds for Con-Con while the country faces problems related to high inflation.

Under HB 7352, the Congress will adopt a hybrid Con-Con in which 20 percent of the delegates will be appointed by the Speaker of the House and the Senate President, while each legislative district will elect their respective representative.

The election is eyed on Oct. 30, simultaneous to the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

The primary qualification for delegates is that they must be 25 years old, a college graduate and a natural-born Filipino citizen.

Delegates are entitled to P10,000 worth of allowance in each of their actual attendance to the assembly.

The Con-Con is expected to submit its report to the Office of the President, Congress and Commission on Elections on or before July 30, 2024. The amendments will be ratified through the conduct of a plebiscite 60 to 90 days following the submission of the report. (TPM, MKG)