Drilon slams Zubiri’s proposal for Cha-cha summit

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Friday said there was no point in having a legislative summit to break the impasse on the manner of voting in a constituent assembly convened to amend the Constitution.

Senator Miguel Zubiri, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, earlier suggested a summit among Congress leaders to settle the issue on whether senators of House members should vote jointly or separately.

“With due respect to Senator Zubiri, his suggested ‘[Charter change] summit’ will put the cart before the horse,” Drilon told reporters.

Drilon instead suggested that both houses of Congress conduct their proceedings on amending the Constitution separately before such a summit be held.

“Until these issues are settled, I do not see the point of a summit… Baka ma-sabit lang! Transparency and public participation are critical to people’s trust in the process,” Drilon said.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, for his part, agreed that leaders of Congress should meet when their respective schedules allow for it.

Zubiri earlier said that Pimentel, Drilon, Majority Leaders Vicente Sotto III and Rodolfo Fariñas, and House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez should meet to discuss ground rules on cha-cha.

The Senate and the House of Representatives are in a deadlock on how to proceed with proposals to amend the Charter.

House leaders believe that according to the Constitution, the 22 senators and almost 300 House members should vote jointly if Congress convenes as a constituent assembly that will propose amendments to the Charter.

If this is the case, the numerical superiority of the House would overwhelm the Senate when the assembly puts proposed amendments to a vote.

Senators are of the position that voting should be done separately.

They have agreed, in an informal caucus, to boycott the constituent assembly (con-ass) that will be convened by the House.