JDV has called for a caucus next week to plan “their strategy in convening a constituent assembly and proposing Charter amendments even without the Senate’s participation (Inquirer paraphrasing Deputy Speaker Salapuddin, Oct. 30, 2006, p. 10). When Congress resumes session on November 6, they would be working on the timetable set in the Constitution that any amendments to or revision of the Constitution must be ratified in a plebiscite held not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days after the approval of such amendments or revision by the constituent assembly or con-con.
Election period starts Jan. 14 and the filing of certificates of candidacy starts Jan. 15. This means that the JDV’s plebiscite must be held before Jan. 14 or before Jan. 15. At the latest, JDV’s plebiscite must be held Jan. 13. Count 60 days backwards, because under the Constitution as stated there must be a period of 60 days between approval of the amendments or revision and the holding of the plebiscite. This means that JDV must complete the approval of cha-cha not later than November 14, 2006. (take or leave a day, if my math is wrong, please correct it. thanks). Can they stop the clock on November 14, 2006 and continue their session up to December 21 and say they beat the deadline? It’s been done before (such that, the records would still reflect “November 14” even if it’s already Christmas; and that’s assuming they’re able to maintain the quorum.) There would be of course another case because in the first place, JDV is going to embark on an illegal numbers game – the entire session would be illegal, a rump constituent assembly, if JDV’s math is to be followed.
JDV’s math is: there are 236 members of the House of Representatives (as of June, 2006 records). Instead of following the constitutional mandate in convening a constituent assembly: three-fourths of a bicameral Congress (three-fourths of the House and three-fourths of the Senate), he will compute it based on a unicameral Congress. So: 236 congressmen plus 24 senators total 260 persons. Three-fourths of 260 persons is 195 persons. So, by his method, he just needs the concurrence of 195 congressmen (more or less, please correct my math if it’s inaccurate.) Without necessarily waiving their right to question the legality of JDV’s illegal numbers game, concerned people in Congress can put together 42 congressmen (more or less) who will not agree to JDV’s design, and, even by his own methods, he doesn’t have a con-ass (without agreeing his method was legal in the first place).
But if he gets the 195, and go on with their rump con-ass and even if they don’t finish by Nov. 14, they’ll just stop the clock on that day. Between the convening of the rump con-ass and the date of the plebiscite, the only thing that can stop them is a TRO; or an uprising. There goes Christmas. And New Year.