Cha-cha again?


Vice President Jejomar Binay is right–whenever an administration is in its last quarter of governance, some ass licker somewhere and somehow proposes charter change. This is already a perennial feature of post-Marcos administrations since EDSA 1986. When Fidel Ramos was leaving office, his trusted generals and their lieutenants launched PIRMA that aimed to change the provisions of the Constitution that they deemed inadequate to permanently change and improve the standards of living of Filipinos.

Now that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is leaving, Speaker Alan Lourd Velasco is now asking his colleagues to open up discussions on amending some economic provisions of the Constitution to enable the country to recover from the economic crisis brought by the pandemic. Since March of last year, the Duterte administration had successfully spent trillions of pesos for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 infections throughout the country. Did the statistics change for the betterment of the country? No. Infections had already reached half a million Filipinos and deaths have been climbing. Yet, this government is still not finished spending our hard-earned public funds andis even ramping up our state loans that reached 10 trillion pesos now and is expected to reach an astounding level of 12 trillion pesos by the end of 2021.

As an economic and political analyst, I don’t see any thing substantially wrong with this Constitution as far as the economic aspect is concerned. Several subsequent laws have already liberalized more segments of the economy than ever before and if these legislators have to open the economy more, I don’t know what those segments that have to be changed except maybe expanding the scope of what foreigners have to own here to rack up more investments.

Velasco in his defense, says businessmen cite three key concerns: graft and corruption due to red tape, ownership of several more critical areas of the economy and ease to do business. These things are related to executive governance, and are not due to constitutional infirmities. For us to eradicate or lessen corruption, the Executive Branch had to run after and prosecute more people. The President had enough powers under his disposal to do just that.

If the concern is red tape, then, there is the Anti-Red Tape law that Velasco and this house should strengthen thru modification or amendment. You don’t need to, say do a general anesthesia if local anesthesia is enough.

This explains why several members even of the House suspect something political out of this call for charter change.


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