Senators back Marcos position not to amend Constitution



Senators welcomed on Tuesday President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s pronouncement that he does not see Charter Change as a priority even as several lawmakers push to amend the Constitution.

Senate Majority leader Joel Villanueva said there are laws already in place to attract more foreign investors and the Senate itself is doing more work to improve the country’s economy.

Villanueva said the senators need to study the effects of amendment to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investments Act, and Public Services Act to encourage more foreign direct investments.

“We just continue the work here in the Senate and this includes hearings on Committee on Constitutional Amendments,” he said in a statement in Filipino.

Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe said the pronouncement of President Marcos will definitely affect the consensus on the need for charter change.

“If the President will not support, the Congress will deal with priority list first like the Internet Transactions Act or CDC bill,” Poe said in another statement in Filipino.

Poe suggested that new laws intended for foreign investments like amendments on the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and Foreign Investments Act should also be discussed by lawmakers in charter change public consultations.

“If it is about foreign investments, it might not be relevant to go around the public asking if they agree to term extensions or other non-economic provisions,” she said.

Also agreeing with President Marcos, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said he will focus instead on pursuing measures pertinent to values, prices, jobs and income.

Cayetano admitted that a lot needs to be changed in the Constitution but noted that some of it are “very political.”

“Coming from the pandemic, additional distraction. We will just be distracted,” the lawmaker said.

Undeterred by the President’s pronouncement, Senator Robin Padilla urged Filipinos to support his call for a Constitutional Assembly that aims to amend some of the Constitution’s economic provisions.

“Hopefully my countrymen, we can work on these economic provisions because our progressive Asian neighbors have already done these,” Padilla said over a radio interview on Tuesday in Filipino.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri told Senate reporters that he sees no problem with what Padilla is doing.

“It is his job as the chairman of the Constitutional Amendments. Let him do his job. But when it comes to the plenary, in the Rules Committee, we will prioritize the pending 19 LEDAC [Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council] priority measures,” Zubiri said.


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