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Mercado: ‘Doors and windows are open’ between House, Senate on Con-ass

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The chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments said communication channels between the Senate and the House of Representatives remain open in spite of their disagreement on joint or separate voting by the future constituent assembly or Con-ass.

“The Committee is open to working with its counterpart in the Senate on how to best proceed and we are hopeful that a reasoned and pragmatic consensus can be achieved in the days ahead,” Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado said in a statement.

He added, “Inter-parliamentary diplomacy remains in play. Doors and windows are open. Communication channels are active.”

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier argued that the whole Congress should vote jointly as a Con-ass, considering that the 1987 Constitution does not specify separate voting by the Houses in introducing changes to the Charter.

A number of senators and legal experts disputed this view, stating that the framers of the Constitution did not intend for the Senate to be rendered useless, as with their smaller number, the vote of senators would be made insignificant by the almost 300 members of the House.