By Filane Mikee Cervantes

House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe (File photo)

MANILA – Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe said on Wednesday the House Committee of the Whole will hold hearings three times per week to “exhaustively” discuss Resolution of Both Houses 7 (RBH 7), which proposes economic amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

In a press conference, Dalipe said the start of the committee deliberations has been moved to Feb. 26 from the original timetable of Feb. 21 in consideration of the availability and schedule of the invited resource persons.

“I don’t have yet a definite timeline until when we will be conducting the hearings but definitely, we would allow members of the House of Representatives to exhaustively discuss and deliberate on (RBH 7),” Dalipe said.

Dalipe said convening the Committee of the Whole will “expedite the proceedings” and be more inclusive of every member of the House in the discussions relating to the proposed amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution.

“Kasi kung gagawin natin sa committee level lang, tapos limited lang yung membership based on the elected members of the committee, ay uulit na naman sa plenary session yung mga tanong na dapat natanong na ng lahat kung na-convene na sa Committee of the Whole…so mas mabilis lang yung process (If we just deliberate on it at the committee level, and the membership is limited based on the elected members of the committee, then the discussions will just be repeated during the plenary session, which could be avoided if we convene as a Committee of the Whole… so this would fast-track the process),” he said.

The entire membership of the House would be participating, he said, to show the chamber’s “seriousness” and “desire” to push for the economic amendments to the Charter.

“We are going to hear it three times a week. We’re going to hear it for a couple of weeks, kung hanggang saan natatapos yung mga tanong ng ating mga congressman (until the questions of our congressmen run out),” Dalipe said.

Earlier, Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr., one of the authors of RBH 7, said the resolution “is very similar” to the Senate’s RBH 6, which would address restrictions on foreign ownership of public utilities, educational institutions, and advertising industries.

Both RBH 6 and RBH 7 call for a constitutional assembly as a mode to amend the Charter by restating the constitutional provision that Congress may propose amendments “upon a vote of three-fourths of all its members.”

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. earlier said he had been talking with the leaderships of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, reiterating his request for the Senate to take the lead on the proposed amendments to the Constitution. (PNA)