Cha-cha long overdue—lawmaker

Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera, a deputy speaker, on Sunday said she is confident the long-overdue constitutional reform is “not impossible” under the present Congress given the assurance that amendments would only be limited to certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

She said the House of Representatives only needed to show the same enthusiasm and willingness whenever it approved vital legislation, such as the annual General Appropriations Act.

“You know us well in Congress if there is a need to pass something, we really pass it. You’ve seen us work till the wee hours of the morning on a number of occasions to ensure that we pass the national budget,” she said.

“We have passed the laws that needed to be passed, and that it is not impossible to do so when it comes to the economic provision of the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. on Sunday said “people, not Congress, had the final say on Charter change.”

Garbin, head of the House committee on constitutional amendments currently holding hearings on the proposals to amend the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution, said the ultimate decision to change the 1987 Constitution rested in the hands of the people, and not Congress.

Herrera said it is already understood among them that they would be focusing on Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 filed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

The measure would amend some economic provisions in the Constitution through the insertion of the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to several sections, which restrict foreign ownership of land, natural resources, public utilities, educational institutions, media and advertising.

“No amendment outside RBH No. 2 will be entertained,” Herrera vowed.

“We are just pushing for the economic Charter-change, no more no less. I myself will not support any move that is outside RBH No. 2.”

Should Congress stick to economic Cha-cha, she believes there is a great chance that the required three-fourths plenary vote would be fulfilled.

The18th Congress would not immediately proceed to amending the Constitution once RBH No. 2 is adopted by the House and the Senate “voting separately,” she said.

“We will leave it to the next Congress to introduce specific amendments to the Constitution. We will only insert the phrase ‘unless otherwise provided by law’ to give the next Congress some elbow room to amend the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution.”

Topics: Bernadette Herrera , Bagong Henerasyon , General Appropriations Act , House of Representatives , Charter Change
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