Annex “A”The Constituent Assembly Issue
Statement of Legal Position of ONEVOICE
By Christian S. Monsod, Chairman
1. Congress, as a constituent assembly, derives its authority from theConstitution and must thus be convened in accordance with its provisions.
Under Article XVII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution, “[a]ny amendmentto, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by: (1)
the Congress, upon avote of three-fourths of all its Members
; or (2) a constitutional convention.”While Congress acting as a constituent assembly is a legislative body of the highest order,
and is “endowed with extraordinary powers generally beyondthe control of any department of the existing government,”
it merely derives itsauthority from the fundamental law. Thus, Congress may propose amendmentsto the Constitution only because the Constitution explicitly grants such power.
Itis therefore well-settled that in exercising such power, Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, act not as members of Congress, but ascomponent elements of a constituent assembly and derive their authority fromthe Constitution.
Hence, in order to exercise the power to propose amendments to, or revisions of, the Constitution, Congress should not deviate from the requirementsset forth in the Constitution, but act in conformity with it.
2. In calling all members of Congress to convene into a constituent assembly,House Resolution No. 197 violates the Constitution because while a joint session is not required, the Senate and the House of Representatives must vote separately.
On 7 December 2006, the House of Representatives adopted ResolutionNo. 197 calling “x x x
all Members of Congress, pursuant to Section 1, Article XVII of the Constitution, to propose amendments to, or revision of, theConstitution
x x x beginning at ten o’clock in the morning of December 12, 2006until the approval of particular amendments or revision of the Constitution for
Bernas, The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines: A Commentary (2003), pp. 1302-1303.
Tolentino v. Commission on Elections, 41 SCRA 702 (1971).
Gonzales v. Commission on Elections, 21 SCRA 837 (1967).
Tolentino v. Commission on Elections, 41 SCRA 702 (1971); In Re Subido, 35 SCRA 1 (1970);Sanidad v. Commission on Elections, 73 SCRA 333 (1976); Imbong v. Commission on Elections, 35 SCRA28 (1970).