Time too short for Charter change — opposition lawyer

Pimentel said he is confident a motion for consideration will not make the Supreme Court change its decision junking the "people's initiative" as the mode of changing the Constitution.

The Sigaw ng Bayan Movement and Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines filed had asked the SC to rule on the legality of a petition for a people's initiative after the Commission on Elections rejected it on August 31 for lack of an enabling law.

"Let us give the matter to the next Congress," Pimentel said. He proposed instead that a referendum on constitutional convention be held together with the May 2007 elections, saying it is not discretionary on the part of the Arroyo administration.

He said a referendum on constitutional convention is necessary even if it is presented as "expensive and tedious".

Pimentel, son of incumbent Senator Aquilino Jr. whose term ends in 2010, is the only Mindanawon included by former President Estrada in his list of senatorial candidates.

The younger Pimentel said the opposition is also ready to block any move for a constituent assembly.

He also cited that if Congress convenes into a constituent assembly, both chambers will still have to vote separately on proposed amendments to the constitution.

Former president Fidel V. Ramos this week called on President Arroyo to "elevate to a higher plane" the proposed charter change and be the one to call the shots after the SC rejection of the people's initiative.

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