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Joint voting on cha-cha not in Constitution — Sotto

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III on Friday said the 1987 Constitution itself does not mention that the Congress should take a joint vote on any amendments to the Charter except on the declaration of martial law.
Sotto made this remark amid questions raised if voting on Charter change should be done jointly or separately should it decide to pursue a constitutional assembly (Con-Ass) mode.
“Jointly, separately? Can we stop this talk? The Constitution says that joint voting is only done in a martial law vote. Nowhere else is joint voting mentioned,” Sotto said in Taglish in his official Twitter account. Not all senators prefer the Con-Ass mode to amend the Constitution.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier said the minority bloc still prefers a constitutional convention (Con-Con) over con-ass.
Although a member of the majority, Sen. Grace Poe also said that Con-Con is the “best and most acceptable” mode to take.
However, a number of senators said that if the Senate decides collectively on Con-Ass, voting should be done separately.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier said that he is set to file a resolution next week to constitute only the Senate in a Con-Ass to vote on the proposal to amend the Constitution and it was up to the House of Representatives (HoR) to follow suit if it wishes.
This way, Lacson said the Senate can already start to propose amendments to the Constitution that could be voted upon by a two thirds vote.
He said that if amendments are approved, these will be discussed in a bicameral conference between both chambers — the Senate and the House of Representatives where they reconcile disagreeing proposals.
Afterwards, the Senate and HoR will again take a two thirds vote on each amendment approval before being presented as a plebiscite to the public.
“Will the Senate allow to convene in a joint session knowing there are 23 senators and almost 300 congressmen? What’s the purpose of the Senate? We don’t have a voice there, our votes won’t matter,” Lacson earlier said.
Lacson also pointed out that if a “simple” or basic legislation needed to be voted on by the two chambers separately, what more if it was legislation to amend the Constitution?
While Lacson will be filing a resolution, so is Senate President Koko Pimentel filing one calling for a shift to the Federal System of government through the Con-Ass.
Lacson’s resolution is also on the Con-Ass.
However, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has also filed a resolution calling for an elected Con-Con.
He has also mentioned that he will bring up the issue of joint voting before the Supreme Court.
The Senate currently has 23 voting members, since Sen. Leila de Lima has been detained and cannot vote.
To reject any amendment or provision, or even a change of government systems, all it will take to reject charter change through the Con-Ass would be eight votes or one third vote from senators, while approval would need 16 votes, the required two thirds vote.
This may mean that if the Senate rejects Cha-cha through Con-Ass and even a shift to federalism, the House can’t push through its move to shift to federalism through the Con-Ass.

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