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Monday, June 24, 2024

Angara: Charter change hearing won’t touch political provisions

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The Senate hearing on the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 on Monday will exclusively discuss the three proposed amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

This was the assurance made on Thursday by Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who will lead the subcommittee that will discuss the measure under the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes.

“No discussion of political amendments,” Angara said in a Viber message to reporters.

He said the focus of discussion will only be limited to the contents of RBH 6, which he filed together with Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda.

Angara also said various sectors will be well represented with constitutional experts as resource persons.

“We will invite a wide sector of society and the political spectrum to ensure healthy discussion and debate,” he said.

RBH 6 contains the proposal to amend Section 11 of Article XII or theNational Patrimony and Economy; Paragraph 2, Section 4 of Article XIVor the Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture, and Sports; and Paragraph 2, Section 11 of Article XVI or the General Provisions.

In an earlier statement, Zubiri said this will “constitutionalize” the Public Services Act which is currently being heard before the Supreme Court and will also ease the regulations to allow more foreign investments in the country.

Meanwhile, two House leaders said they expect the developments in the Senate on RBH 6 to elevate the level of discussion on the issue of amending the economic provisions of the Constitution.

House Majority Leader Zamboanga City 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose M. Dalipe, and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) House bloc leader and Rizal 1st District Rep. Jack Duavit in separate statements welcomed the start of hearings on RBH 6 next week.

Dalipe said the House will “patiently wait for the senators to pass the measure.”

House leaders had earlier underscored the importance of having the restrictive economic provisions lifted so that the country’s economic potential could be unleashed.

Duavit said the beginning of the official deliberations on RHB 6 is the start of something good.

“Again, we respect them. A lot of them were our colleagues and I think this is a start of things simmering down and getting back to work, so we welcome it very much,” he said.

The House has committed to adopting RBH 6 once the Senate approves it.

Senator Imee Marcos, meanwhile, urged her brother President Marcos to take a firm stand to put an end to the people’s initiative (PI).

In an interview over ANC’s Headstart, Marcos said there is a need to establish a legal framework through legislation before moving forward with a people’s initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution.

“Why don’t we first make a law? Let’s hammer [it out] together, craft, debate [it] until we get a law and thereafter produce this people’s initiative that is properly done,” she said.

Turning her attention to the rift between the two factions in the UniTeam coalition, Senator Marcos underscored the need to remain united in the face of the apparent discord between the Marcos and Duterte families.

She said she would do anything to keep the tandem of her brother, the President, and Vice President Sara Duterte united.

“Let me be candid. I will do anything to salvage the UniTeam… I’m determined to salvage whatever shreds remain of that unity. It is good for our country, it is good for development and for our future,” the senator said in an ANC interview.

Senator Marcos said that she was the one who convinced Sara, a former mayor of Davao City before her rise as vice president, to be her brother’s running mate for the 2022 presidential elections.

She also disclosed that she was the one who coined the term “UniTeam.”

For his part, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who sought reelection in 2022 as part of the UniTeam senatorial ticket, said he shared Senator Marcos’ stand and that he would do “everything in my capacity to maintain unity” among the country’s political leaders.

House leaders said they opted not to dwell on Davao Mayor Sebastian Duterte’s call for President Marcos to resign, choosing instead to focus on legislative duties and fostering unity within its ranks.

Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. said the instruction from Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez was to avoid a prolonged discussion on Mayor Duterte’s remarks, which he said lacked any credible basis.

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