Constitutional Convention Act of 2016

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An Act to promote the production of aromatic rice and fancy rice varieties and to authorize the exportation thereof.

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EXPLANATORY NOTE

Article XVII of the Philippine Constitution provides:

Section 1. Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by:

(1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members;

or

(2) a constitutional convention

Section 2. Amendments to this Constitution may likewise be directly proposed by the people through initiative upon a petition of at least twelve per centum of the total number of registered voters, of which every legislative district must be represented by at least three per centum of the registered voters therein. No amendment under this section shall be authorized within five years following the ratification of this Constitution nor oftener than once every five years thereafter.

The Congress shall provide for the implementation of the exercise of this right.

Section 3. The Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of all its members, call a constitutional convention, or by a majority vote of all its Members, submit to the electorate the question of calling such a convention.

The aforequoted Section 3, Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution provides for two alternative modes of calling for a constitutional convention, to wit:

Call for a constitutional convention by Congress upon a vote of two-thirds of all its Members; or Submit to the electorate the question of calling a constitutional convention upon a majority vote of the Members of Congress.

It is herein proposed that the first option be adopted by Congress, i.e. call for a Constitutional Convention by two-thirds (2/3) of the vote of all the Members of Congress.

The movement towards charter change has always been relevant. However, calls for genuine constitutional reforms have taken a backseat because of perceived controversies and allegations of corruption in previous administrations. Filipinos, meanwhile, take severe punishment from corruption, high prices, inequitable distribution of income, and a lopsided playing field when it comes to foreign investments. Thus, while it is a given that the present charter needs to go through the process of amendments/revision, this should be done with much deliberation and in a transparent and trustworthy atmosphere.

Calling for a Constitutional Convention, the delegates of which shall be elected by the people simultaneously with the next Barangay or National elections, is a measure that is intended to be more transparent and less conflict-ridden. The convention is mandated, through a process of public hearings and deliberations, to submit the proposed charter change for the people’s ratification which shall be held not earlier than sixty (60) days nor later than ninety (90) days after approval of the amendments/revisions, and the same shall be valid only when ratified by a majority of the votes cast.

It is important that constitutional reforms be completed through a transparent process that ensures the participation by the nation at large. In keeping with the sovereign mandate of the people, the new Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines should be truly reflective of the ideals and aspirations of the Filipino nation, and not of a select few.

In view of the foregoing, approval of this bill is earnestly requested.

LUIS RAYMUND F. VILLAFUERTE, JR.