Congress panel blocks cha-cha


Congressman Rufus Rodriguez, chair of the House Committee On Constitutional Amendments assured the public that there will be no charter change while the country is still in the thick of the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Rodriguez says he already moved to defer any measures that seek to amend the 1987 Constitution. A total of 12 resolutions pends before the House. As quoted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rodriguez agrees with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano for the shelving of char-cha “indefinitely.”

“I am inclined to recommend to the Speaker (Alan Peter Cayetano) that we shelve Cha-cha (or Charter change) indefinitely so we can focus on measures to fight this pandemic, help our affected people and prepare the nation for postlockdown and post-coronavirus disease, or the new normal life,” he said in a statement.

The House reacted after an Inquirer report revealed that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)is spending precious government monies to campaign for “constitutional reform.” A statement by Ano last May 8 was a veritable pitch for federalism even using the much-publicized campaign “Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa” (BP2) program as a priority government program.

DILG secretary Eduardo Ano had since distanced himself from the alleged CORE campaign which was actively pursued by DILG undersecretary Jonathan Malaya. Malaya says the agency is bent on collating at least 2 million signatures for the call to amend the Constitution.

Some of the substantive amendments being pushed by the DILG IATF-EID on federalism is a shift to a federal form of government by dividing the Philippines into self-governing regional states. One of the proposed “clinical amendments” include a tandem election of the President and the Vice-President and a ban on turncoatism and political dynasties.

Malaya says the DILG is also pushing for more foreign ownership of lands to encourage foreign investments in the countrysides.

With COVID-19 still actively claiming more lives, Rodriguez pooh-poohs’d the proposals describing them as a “waste of time, effort and money.” Congress is not willing to act on any charter change measure “while the Filipino people are suffering and are in danger of getting infected by the coronavirus.” (With reports from Melvin Gascon of the Philippine Daily Inquirer)

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