Plenary debates on Chacha

Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo interpellates Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr.

The House of Representatives is debating on the proposed resolution to convene Congress into a constituent assembly.
These are notes: there is no context here at all and I missed a lot of points. These are not accurate, either. But it may give one an idea of how the debates went. For accuracy, though, I suggest one checks either the House records or the news reports.
The debates are still going on.

Barzaga: many of us are still living under the ghost or shadow of martial law…whenever we attempt to change the constitution there will be perpetuation in power of existing public officials…because of that apprehension…expressly stated there will be no extension of the term of office because as mentioned by our distinguished colleague, people are not in favor of extension of term of office.

Satur: ask for his comment regarding the reaction to the pulse asia survey of feb 2-15 that I mentioned earlier, and to quote business mirror…Claudio told reporters…that survey results were well taken…and cited prevailing sentiments…that’s a public reaction well taken and I think our legislators…cognizant of that reaction of public and may be one of reasons why chacha has not progressed in house of representatives. What does the distinguished…say to that remark?

Barzaga: That is the remark of the political adviser of president and members of this house have their own reasons why they are proposing changes to the constitution and amending consti would be a long process….considering we have barely one year we may not have sufficient time to complete the entire process…but at least have judicial determination of the constitutional issue as to whether or not the voting shall be jointly or separately under xvii.

Satur: if this 1987 consti is anti dictatorship and protective of..what specific reforms does he have in mind?

Barzaga: We have the presidential form of gov’t…under the consti while it adopts the presidential form of gov’t, it is the multiparty system…in 1992 we have the presidential elections…because of this constitutional provision of multi party system, although victory of erap happens to be a landslide, able to get only 37% of electorate…from 1998 up to present are minority president. The leading presidential candidate happens to be noli de castro, garnering 18%. Under present constitution, I can bet safely our next president will again be minority president. The president is to govern entire population of 90m. Hard to rule if you do not have command of majority, if you are not a majority president. If we want the presidential form of gov’t, have to revise consti, adopt two party system to be sure president to be elected will get mandate of majority of people. That is only one.

Barzaga: Of course we cannot equate political rights with economic rights…

Satur: does it mean, with regards to portion of resolution…proposal for phils to be international…attracting more investments…does this mean if this resolution is adopted 737 will not…

Barzaga: Don’t think 737 is…if 1109 will be approved.

Satur: if this resolution were adopted and joint assembly were to be convened, would these assurances hold? Constituent assembly, there are no boundaries, no restrictions. Were it not possible that if conass proceeds and acquires ¾ majority to shift from presidential to parliamentary…would not such change enable incumbent president and vp to stay in power by running as members of parliament in next election?

Barzaga: Everything is a possibility…

Satur: all of these…I am laying these down to stress the point that placing this provision does not mean anything by way of guarantee, that no term extension, capability of running under different system of government, that is the very source of apprehension…

Barzaga: As public official and member of house of rep, this rep always complies with his undertaking. I cannot guarantee what others will do but I assure you that I will comply with my commitment. I want to make this challenge: if I will not comply with provisions of this resolution then I will not be running for public office. If I comply with this resolution, will the oppositors of 1109 make also a similar undertaking that they will not be running for public office…in order to determine the sincerity of proponent and oppositors…

Satur: very clear deception in trying to present to people a sense of assurance…this is a project of malacanang…he denies there is a marching order from malacanang…this is a leadership move, part of lakas-kampi program. In the executive session, the speaker said the same. The approval of resolution starts with lakas-kampi…if this is a lakas-kampi program, it is gloria macapagal’s program. Was there a marching order or was there none? You answer that. You answer it to the people.

Casino: some visitors being prevented to enter this hall to listen to debates. Being told session is over, standing outside in the rain. I thought this is the house of the people, why are we preventing the people from listening?


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