MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Monday said the possibility of having a Charter change is be among the priorities of the Senate on its legislative agenda for the third regular session of the 15th Congress.
In his speech during the opening ceremonies, however, Enrile said their proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution will be only on the economic provisions.
“We seek to amend only certain economic provisions therein such that there will be more flexibility in the ownership of certain industries, particularly those that are involved in the exploration, development and utilization of our natural resources,” Enrile said in his speech.
In a chance interview after the opening ceremonies, Enrile allayed fears that the proposed amendment to the Constitution will be for the term-extension of the president.
“It will not happen because the two Houses agreed and we will pass the resolution. You will see whether we are going to tinker with other provisions of the Constitution,” Enrile told reporters.
When asked why the Senate will prioritize Charter change, Enrile said they believe that this is needed by the country. “We must adopt a flexible policy than a very rigid one,” he said.
However, Enrile said they have no schedule yet as to when they will begin discussing Charter change.
“We are not talking about the time yet. We are going to discuss this with the President. He is the Chief Executive of the country and he’s entitled to know and be informed,” he told reporters.
He added he has not discussed the matter with his fellow senators and that he has only talked to House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte and Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III.
He added there have been varying reactions from various sectors regarding Charter change and the RH Bill.
However, Enrile said the Senate should address these issues.
“Rather than burying our heads in the sand, I think it will serve the Senate’s best interest to take cognizance of the lines drawn,” Enrile said.
“I know that we, in the Senate, will tackle these issues with tact and bravery,” he added.