The Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of laws will conduct a public hearing on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 6, which calls for a constitutional convention that would propose changes to the Charter’s economic provisions.
House Speaker Martin Romualdez, for his part, said the 301 lawmakers who voted to amend the restrictive provisions of the Constitution are “in a rush.”
“If we do our jobs quickly, this is because the people’s interest is at stake. Not politics but the country’s economy. Not election, but the mission to lift fellow Filipinos out of poverty,” Romualdez said.
“When did working quickly for the country become a sin?” he added.
Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro, who chairs the House constitutional amendments committee, said his Senate counterpart Robinhood Padilla has invited him to attend the hearing.
“I will attend it. I will explain to senators and the public that our intention in our Charter change initiative, as repeatedly stated by Speaker Martin Romualdez, is to rewrite the economic provisions so the country could attract more foreign investments,” he said.
“That is our only objective. We do not want the other parts of the Constitution to be touched,” he said.
He said the present “restrictive economic provisions have been, to quote Fitch Solutions, ‘historically a challenge for foreign investors.’”
Based on the invitation sent by Padilla’s committee to Rodriguez, RBH 6 is the only item on the agenda.
Rodriguez said he would suggest to Romualdez that House Bill 7352, which was approved Tuesday, be immediately transmitted to the Senate for inclusion in Monday’s hearing.
He said he hoped the bill could be discussed along with RBH 6 in Padilla’s committee.
“In the bill, we are giving the constitutional convention seven months to finish its job. The deadline is the best proof that we want this effort to be limited to the economic provisions. Rewriting the other parts of the Charter would entail a longer, perhaps an open-ended period,” he said.
Under HB 7352, convention delegate would receive no salary but would be entitled to a P10,000 allowance for every day of attendance in the assembly or any of its committees.
Padilla will preside over today’s hearing on charter change in Cebu City after previously holding hearings in Baguio City and Davao City.
Despite lack of support for constitutional amendments among his colleagues, Padilla said he will continue to advocate the amendment of seven provisions of the 1987 Constitution which he believes will spur economic development.
On the other hand, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said there was no need to rush charter change.
Zubiri noted that charter change was not among the priority measures discussed in the recent Legislative Executive Development Council (LEDAC).
“Our group, made of the House of Representatives, Senate and the Executive which discussed the priority measures needed for our country and charter change is not there,” Zubiri said.
“You will know that the President already said that it is not part of his agenda,” said.
While most senators are not inclined to support charter change, Zubiri said he has not stopped Padilla from conducting hearings on amending the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.