Sotto proposes 'hybrid' constitutional body to break Cha-cha deadlock

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2018 01:36 PM

MANILA - Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Thursday said he came up with an idea to break an apparent deadlock over the manner of voting on the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution. 

The House leadership wants to convene as a constituent assembly and vote jointly on the proposed amendments. But the Senate wants to vote separately because the 24-member chamber will easily be outvoted by the House with about 292 members.

To break the deadlock, Sotto proposes a "hybrid" constitutional body composed of 12 senators, 12 members of the House o Representatives, 12 nominees by the President, and 12 nominees from the civil society to vote on the proposed new charter. 

Another option proposed earlier is to form a constitutional convention, where people will elect delegates of a commission that will draft a new charter. Some lawmakers, however, prefer constituent assembly because it costs less. 

Sotto believes that his proposal is more acceptable compared to the two other options, which elicited debates among lawmakers. He said he has already talked to Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III about his proposal. 

The House already adopted a resolution to convene as constituent assembly. Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, has filed a resolution calling on the Senate to convene as a constituent assembly independently from the House.

Former chief justice Reynato Puno earlier said he backs a "hybrid" constitutional convention to revise the 1987 Constitution. He said the hybrid con-con will be composed of delegates elected by the people, and experts from different disciplines without self-interest.