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President to meet Romualdez, Escudero on Cha-cha, priority bills

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President Marcos will meet with Senate President Francis Escudero and Speaker Martin Romualdez to discuss Charter change efforts as well as priority bills of the administration.

House Deputy Majority Leader Erwin Tulfo said this was disclosed by Romualdez before he left for Brunei yesterday as part of the President’s delegation.

“One of the agenda is Charter change,” said Tulfo, who is also the spokesman of the majority coalition in the House of Representatives.

“I don’t know where they will arrive [in terms of an agreement on Cha-cha], but that is one of the talking points as well as the coordination between the Senate and the House in terms of the priority bills of the President,” he added.

Escudero, who recently replaced Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri as head of the Upper Chamber, earlier said his position against amending the 1987 Constitution remains.

He said he is hoping that the President will ask him questions about Charter change efforts.

“I will always answer if this will be raised (by the President)… But it is not for me to volunteer about this to the President because he can obtain more extensive knowledge than what he will obtain from me,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.

“Perhaps, I might also be wrong so it is also good to listen,” he added.

Escudero earlier stood firm on his rejection of a joint vote of the two chambers as it would put the 24-strong Senate at a disadvantage.

He said passing the Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 – the Senate version of the economic Charter change proposals – seems “farfetched.”

The House of Representatives approved in March its own version – RBH No. 7. The proposed House and Senate changes are on the grant of legislative franchises to and ownership (60-40) of public utilities in Article XII, the administration and control of basic educational facilities in Article XIV and ownership of advertising firms (70-30) in Article XVI.

Asked if he would be honest with Romualdez on the fate of Charter change in the Senate, Escudero said: “It is more difficult to promise something you cannot deliver.”

“Raising false hopes, I believe, is by far a bigger sin or a crime than just simply saying ‘no,’” he added.

Escudero earlier said all hearings on Charter amendments are canceled as of now.


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