Pingoy, a stalwart of the Nationalist People’s Coalition that allied with the administration-led majority coalition, admitted however that they were pressured by House leaders and allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to support the Charter change bid.
And despite the pressure, the administration bloc also did not offer any remuneration for their support.
“I can say personally that those speculations are unfounded and unfair,” he said.
Pingoy voted with the ruling administration majority congress representatives to push the revision of the Constitution by revising its own rules to force a constituent assembly. They passed Resolution 1450 that amended Section 105 of the House’s internal rules that provided for the approval of amendments to or revision of the Constitution upon a three-fourths vote of all Congress’ members. It was later substituted by Resolution 197, which called for a constituent assembly without the Senate to propose amendments to or revision of the constitution.
“I voted in favor of Resolution 1450 because I felt that the House is empowered to amend its own rules,” he said.
The move, however, drew heavy flak from various sectors forcing House Speaker Jose de Venecia to announce that the House has shelved the move for a Constituent Assembly.
Pingoy was widely criticized here for voting with administration representatives but claimed that he intended to vote against Resolution 197, that convened Constituent Assembly, saying that more than 60 percent of his constituents in South Cotabato’s second district were against the controversial constituent assembly.
“I would like to apologize to the people for the confusion. But let me clarify that I never intended to vote Yes for the Con-ass (constituent assembly),” he said. “At the end of the day, what is important is that I carried the sentiments of my constituents and that is to say No to Resolution 197,” Pingoy added.
He said his actions were part of a “political strategy” but did not elaborate. He hinted though that his previous move to join the opposition bloc in pushing the first impeachment against President Arroyo last year had cost his district “millions in missed opportunities”.
The case was eventually trashed by the majority congressmen.
Pingoy joined the pro-administration bloc in dismissing the second impeachment case filed in July this year.