• Revision of economic provisions
• Congress, LGU term extension
• President, VP tandem election
• Increased number of senators
A resolution relaxing economic restrictions in the 1987 Constitution and extending the term of local government officials, congressmen and senators to five years subject to three consecutive terms was passed by the House committee on constitutional amendments.
The militant Makabayan bloc denounced what it called a “discreet railroading” of the resolution by the panel led by Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.
“In effect this is Charter change by legislation that is not provided for by the Constitution. This is a very dangerous action,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said as he vowed that the Makabayan bloc would oppose the measure during plenary discussions.
Zarate said proponents of the consolidated resolution included the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” to cover the major changes in the economic and political provisions of the Charter.
The still unnumbered resolution of both Houses specifically seeks to amend Articles VI, X, XII, XIV, and XVI of the 1987 Constitution. The proposals will have to be approved by three-fourths of the House and Senate members, voting separately.
The resolution provides the election of the President and Vice President in tandem, as well as increases the number of senators from 12 to 27, or three per region. The nine regions were identified as the National Capital Region, Northern Luzon, Southern Luzon, Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.
The 1987 Constitution provides that a senator can serve for six years and run for reelection once, while congressmen and local elected officials are elected for an initial term of three years and can run for reelection twice for a total of three terms.
The resolution also seeks to ease Constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership of land, natural resources, public utilities, media, and advertising.
“With the current growing global interest in Asia, it now becomes an imperative response to further enhance our economic policies in order for us to compete for more investments which is a vital element in maximizing our potential as one of the growing economies in Asia,” read the six-page resolution.
Zarate said the approval came during an executive meeting on Wednesday afternoon, with four committee members voting against but were outvoted by 10 other members of the panel.
“The meeting was not opened to the public and media for more discussion,” he added.
“The committee passed proposed changes to the major economic provisions of the Constitution by simply having the phrase ‘unless otherwise provided by law’ added to the original provision,” he said.
Zarate said the committee will take up the shift to a federal form of government next year. He said the terms of local officials were included in the revision of the economic provisions to “make it palatable to them.”