The Congressional Committee on Constitutional Amendments approved the bill which paves the way for charter change, wherein a hybrid Constitutional Convention (“Con-Con”) will be convened, Northern Samar First District Representative, and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Paul Ruiz Daza questioned the hybrid Con Con vis a vis the more “practical, expedient, and transparent” Constitutional Assembly (Con-Ass).
During his interpellation of Cagayan De Oro Second District Rep, and Committee on Constitutional Amendments Chairman Rufus B. Rodriguez, Daza pointed out that a Con-Ass is more aligned to the Committee’s explicit objective to revise key economic provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. He also highlighted how a Con-Con is a “free for all” which opens up the possibility of a complete Constitutional overhaul.
Rodriguez noted Daza’s comments and said he would urge the Committee to focus only on the economic provisions, yet provided no guarantees to this effect. Daza maintained that the Con-Ass was a more focused and transparent process to do this.
The associated cost of the Con-Con also came to light. Daza revealed that a Con-Con may cost to PhP 10 Billion to PhP 15 Billion, while a Con-Ass would have “minimal or no [additional] cost” to the Government. The money, Daza said, would be better spent on critical alleviation programs like scholarships and medical assistance. “It would go a long way to help the average Filipino,” he pointed out.
Rodriguez concurred with Daza that the whole exercise may cost up at least PhP 10 Billion, however, he countered that the amount is “a small price to pay” to open up the economy to more Foreign Direct Investments
In a separate statement to the press, Daza also said that a Con-Ass will foster less controversy. “The process of choosing the representative-delegates to this Con-Con may become another opportunity for divisiveness,” he stated. “While I appreciate the good intentions, a potentially divisive and costly exercise at this point may do more harm than good.”