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Most Pinoys, legal minds favor Con con -- Drilon.

By Mario Casayuran

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Monday said that most Filipinos and a number of the country's legal luminaries believe that the best method to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution is through constitutional commission (con con) rather than a constitutional assembly (con ass).

Drilon, a former Senate president and Department of Justice Secretary, said this consensus emerged during public hearings so far conducted by the Senate constitutional amendments chaired by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, both in Manila and in the provinces.

Should the Constitution be amended, if at all, it must be through constitutional amendment, he said.

Among the legal luminaries are former Chief Justices Hilario Davide, Reynato Puno and Artemio Panganiban; and former Supreme Court Associate Justices Adolfo Azcuna and Eduardo Nachura, who are of the opinion that a Constitutional Convention should be adopted.

Puno heads the consultative body tasked by the President to review the Constitution.

Former Senate President Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr. also stated that he considers a Constitutional Convention as the best mode.

But if the President prefers a Constitutional Assembly, Pimentel said that he sees no problem as long as public hearings are conducted to ensure participation by the people.

The University of the Philippines-National College of Public Administration and Governance and the Philippine Center on Islam and Democracy also favor a Constitutional Convention to ensure wider participation, he noted.

"The people's sentiment is that amendments to the Constitutions should be through a con-con. That is on record and Congress should seriously consider our people's view," Drilon said.

"We must listen to the growing public preference to Constitutional Convention as the method of amending or revising our Constitution," Drilon said.

The minority leader said that such view "reflects the distrust of the people on Congress."

"Unfortunately, it appears that our people do not trust their legislators with the revision of the Constitution. It says a lot about the level of trust, or the lack of it, our people have on the legislators," Drilon said.

"We could not blame our people if they fear that politicians would only abuse the new Constitution to further their own agendas," he explained.

Under the Constitution, the Constitution can be amended or revised through a constitutional assembly through a vote of three-fourths of all members and through a constitutional convention where the people elect delegates to propose amendments and revisions to the Constitution.

''We respect all views, we will hear all views, and ultimately, we will learn from these views and craft policy in a manner that is respectful, deliberative and hopefully intelligent with the experts and enlightening,'' Pangilinan of his current public hearings.

''The strength in our democracy is in how we live, not just speak democracy, but live it. And hopefully in this hearing, we will live democracy, listen to our citizens, be enlightened and therefore help us in crafting policy,'' he said.

Pangilinan's committee will conduct Thursday another regional consultative hearing on proposals to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution.

This will be held at the Shariff Kabunsuan Complex, ORG compound in Cotabato city.

Pangilinan has been spearheading a series of public hearings in Manila and regional centers on proposals to amend or revise the Constitution in the provinces before drafting a committee report for eventual floor debate.


Senator Frank Drilon (Senate of the Philippines Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Mar 5, 2018
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