ADMU Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral’s Stand on HR 1109 and Salient Points

10 06 2009

First Posted:

June 09, 2009 at 11:05am Facebook

House Resolution No. 1109 Salient Points:

A RESOLUTION CALLING UPON THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO CONVENE FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONSIDERING PROPOSALS TO AMEND OR REVISE THE CONSTITUTION, UPON A VOTE OF THREE-FOURTHS OF ALL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

1. Convening the members of congress in order to amend or revise the 1987 constitution being used by the country today

a. It is provided that the Members of Congress have the constitutionally ordained powers to amend or revise the constitution given the exercise of their constituent power as recognized in Article XVII, section 1 of the Constitution.

2. The method to which this provision is enacted upon came from distinction evoked from the constitutional change that occurred in the 1935, 1973, and 1987 constitutions.

a. Evident difference with the 1935 and 1987 Constitutions have led this house resolution to be so. Changes that are of crucial value are:

i. The deletion of the phrase “in joint session assembled” as found in the 1935 constitution

ii. The deletion of the phrase, “all members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately” as found in the 1935 constitution, there by obscuring the distinction as to which institution of Congress a representative is part of when it comes to the voting requiring three-fourths of all the members

b. Proposals to amend or revise the 1987 constitution can only be provided only when there is already a call to convene the Members of Congress.

i. The proponents of this resolution then pledged that any form of change may be presented at the appropriate times given that other constitutional issues involving the construction and interpretation of the 1987 Constitution is conducted by the Honorable Supreme Court.

ii. Controversies that may be related to this resolution may be resolved with finality that:

1. The terms of office of the incumbent President and Vice-President, as well as the Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors, and other elected officials whose term of office shall expire in 2010 shall not be extended;

2. The terms of office of the twelve (12) senators whose term shall expire in 2013 shall not be shortened;

3. That there shall be elections in 2010.

4. The economic provisions making the Philippines an internationally competitive country attracting foreign investments and technology transfers is also mentioned, but can only be presented and acted upon when there is already a convention to amend or revise the constitution and will be made operational through the application of Article XVII of the present Constitution.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THAT THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS BE CONVENED FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROPOSING AMENDMENTS TO, OR REVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION UPON A VOTE OF THREE-FOURTHS OF ALL ITS MEMBERS AND THAT UPON ITS BEING CONVENED SHALL ADOPT ITS RULES OF PROCEDURES THAT SHALL GOVERN ITS PROCEEDINGS

Last Tuesday, June 2, 2009, the Philippine House of Representatives passed House Resolution 1109 which calls for the convening of Congress into a Constitutional Assembly. The decision, voted by means of acclimation, was reached after four (4) hours of interpolation and to much debate by both Administration and Opposition congressmen.

House Resolution 1109 provides the House of Representatives with powers to amend or revise the 1987 Constitution given their right to exercise their constituent power as stipulated in Article XVII, Section 1 of the said constitution. The method adopted in the writing of this resolution was enacted upon with respect to the changes in the 1935, 1973, and 1987 constitutions. This resolution then entails the Members of the Congress (i.e. the Senators and Congressmen) to vote jointly – not separately – on any amendment or revision to be made with the 1987 Constitution.

In matters of constitutional issues involving the construction and interpretation of the 1987 Constitution, it is the Honorable Supreme Court that shall decide on all affairs.H.R. 1109 has provisions for the prohibition of the extension of terms of the incumbent President and Vice-President, as well as the Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors, and other elected officials whose term of office shall expire in 2010, the office of the twelve (12) senators whose term shall expire in 2013 shall not be shortened, and that there shall be elections in 2010.

The Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral, as an institution founded on the principle of Democracy – with its values of participation, responsible representation, and forwarding national interest, stands firm in positing that H.R. 1109:

1. has clearly not been, and is still not at the best interest of the Filipino people at the moment

2. has not undergone the proper process of consultation by seemingly railroading the resolution into approval without proper regard for objection and queries from various individuals and groups.

3. is seemingly and potentially a product of dubious intention by powers that have significant influence in Congress

The Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral, as an institution founded on the principle of National Dignity and Social Justice, firmly believes that H.R. 1109 is a mere distraction to more pressing legislative matters such as the pending Student Rights and Welfare Bill, efforts to protect our economy from the effects of the global recession and other legislative agenda championing the interests of the poor and marginalized in society.

The Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral questions the timing at which the members of the House have chosen to push for this arguably unconstitutional first step in attempting to amend the constitution. The realities of the upcoming elections include the logistical difficulties of preparing for a plebiscite in case amendments are forwarded by an assembly and the suspicions over the real motive behind this effort.

The Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral, is an institution that partakes in the endeavors of the youth, which it sees as the primary stakeholder of the nation. The implications of H.R. 1109 are clearly not in line with the interests of the youth today. The Sanggunian firmly supports the desire of the youth to exercise its democratic right to vote in the 2010 national elections.

Therefore, the Sanggunian ng mgaMag-aaral stands firmly against moves to amend the constitution via a Constituent Assembly. It believes that NOW is NOT the time to amend the constitution.

The Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral, as an institution that represents, integrates, and provides services to the student body calls on the student body to

(1) participate in discourses and forums to be set-up by the Sanggunian and other groups to be properly educated on the political situations;

(2) continue to participate in voters’ registration which will be important whether an election or a plebiscite happens in 2010;

(3) be vigilant of the poll automation process that is happening in COMELEC. If a plebiscite will occur or the 2010 election pushes through, we shall rely heavily on those machines that are being set-up in determining our future leaders.

(4) create political space in cyberspace by discussing this issue with your friends;

(5) write what your stand is to your congressmen and senators;

(6) write to the Supreme Court that we trust them to uphold what is true, unbiased and just in their decision regarding HR 1109;
(7) participate in the major protest concert on June 10, 2009 in Makati, Tondo, or Katipunan as well as the regular noise barrages that will happen on seven consecutive Fridays starting June 12 until the July 27 SONA of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Scincerely,
Gregorio Ramon A. Tingson

President
Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila





Kick Con-Ass! Student Councils Denounce HoR’s move to Railroad ChaCha

3 06 2009

Media Person: Eriza Dapitan (eriza.dapitan@gmail.com)

Youth group, Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), denounced the administration solons brazen move to railroad Charter Change proposal in House of Representatives, yesterday, June 2, 2009.

Kick Con-Ass!

House Bill 1109 introduced by House Speaker Prospero Nograles was approved before 12 midnight of June 02, where legislators supporting the convening of Congress as a Constituent Assembly to change the 1987 Charter defeated the minority, in the plenary vote on Charter Change (ChaCha).

“This is yet again a slap on our democracy. GMA allies have gone way too far. They should prepare for the ultimate consequence of this action, mass protests will definitely greet them starting two o’clock this afternoon in St. Peter’s Church, Commonwealth,” says SCAP Secretary-General, Paula Bianca Lapuz.

The Alliance has retained its opposition against GMA’s ChaCha since it was first proposed in 2007. The group was quoted saying that they believed that “the Government’s motivation for changing our current political system is to ensure the political survival of the beleaguered presidency of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal – Arroyo.”

SCAP emphasized in its previous statements that “genuine pursuit of necessary and essential reforms in our political and electoral system could never take place under the present administration.”

Hence, the Alliance reiterates that initiatives for genuine political reforms must come from groups, institutions and individuals which/who have the moral and political ascendancy to lead the process of Charter Change, otherwise this process might just be used to further curtail the civil and political rights of our people.

Furthermore, the youth group cited that our people’s participation in the process of Charter Change is of utmost importance, if only, to legitimize the whole process.

“Doing ChaCha through Con-Ass is the highest form of treason. The administration cohorts in the lower house have betrayed the people yet again. Instead of prioritizing laws like Magna Carta of Students or the Extension and Reform of CARP, GMA allies chose to pass Con-ASS bill hastily, with great prejudice to minority leaders who had still wanted to raise arguments against the faults of the bill,” adds Lapuz.

Having condemned ConASS, SCAP maintained its stance that Charter Change could best serve the interest of the people if done through a Constitutional Convention, where delegates will be voted by the people in order to convene an independent body which will tackle revisions and/or amendments in the charter.

CARPER at Magna Carta of Students HINDI CHACHA

“Kick Con-ASS! That’s what we are saying. No to Charter Change under the GMA administration! Let’s not bring this country to an absolute political fiasco,” quips Lapuz.

“Student groups forming the Coalition for Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW) have been lobbying incessantly in the House of Representatives (HoR) during the past weeks in order to get the Magna Carta of Students passed at the committee level. It is very frustrating to see our legislators passing a bill which is highly detrimental to our democracy. We cannot tolerate this blatant disregard of the real important bills, which will in fact, help our people, especially our farmers and students greatly,” says coalition spokesperson Jamie Pring.

“We are deeply saddened by the developments in the lower house; we wish that Congress would tackle Magna Carta of Students and the Extension and Reform of CARP instead of insisting to convene a Constituent Assembly. This is a very crucial moment for genuine political reforms to take place and we are appalled to witness the slow death of our reform agenda in HoR especially if our legislators themselves are putting them off, case in point, the ChaCha Express,” adds Pring.

SCAP, being a co-convenor of the coalition, reminds solons that young people will not hesitate to go out in the streets again to show their indignation of this government’s outright mockery of our country’s democratic institutions and processes.

SCAP and the Coalition for STRAW are praying that key reform bills will be passed before the recess of Congress. Likewise, they are registering their protest against ChaCha.

“EDSA dos is likely to happen again. Young people are not ignorant; we saw and felt the youth power in 2001. This government never learns, as if GMA was not installed through the EDSA II uprising. We will ensure that our voices will be heard. HoR should legislate Magna Carta of Students NOW and as well as CARPER,” Lapuz concludes.

Magna Carta of Students has been pending in Congress for more than a decade already. No substantial discussion was brought out in the past to get it moving. The coalition hopes that through more rigorous lobbying, congress will finally legislate this into law.

CARPER was just passed in the Senate while the House was busy tackling Con-ASS. HoR closed without passing the bill in the plenary.

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