Senators agree not to rush Cha-cha, reject ‘no-el’
Senators agreed in a caucus on Tuesday to reject any attempt to cancel the 2019 elections and not to rush the discussion on Charter change (Cha-cha) initiatives.
“Both the majority and minority are united in not rushing Cha-cha and to have elections in 2019 as scheduled,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said in a text message to reporters after the caucus.
Recto said they all agreed, however, that the Senate committee on constitutional amendments being headed by opposition Senator Francis Pangilinan should continue its Cha-cha hearings.
“My reading is that a great majority is against it (Cha-cha),” he added.
Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri confirmed that the said agreements were reached during the caucus.
“Ang stand namin sa Cha-cha tuloy hearing…hindi po namin mamadaliin…walang utos na madaliin ito (Our stand is to continue the Cha-cha hearing and there is no need to rush it),” Zubiri said in an interview at the Senate.
Besides, he said, many senators were against Cha-cha and the proposed shift to federalism.
“So it’s going to be a long debate both [at] the committee level and the plenary when we discuss Cha-cha,” he said.
Asked about the no-election (no-el) scenario next year, Zubiri said, “Wala sa amin na papayag na magkaroon ng no-el (None of us will agree to ‘no-el’ proposals).”
Pangilinan and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, in separate text messages, echoed the consensus in the caucus.
“The move to amend the Charter should not be rushed and the Senate will study the matter thoroughly considering the far reaching political and economic implications of such a move,” Pangilinan said.
“The responsible and appropriate response is not to rush Charter change,” he added.
Drilon said they decided to allow Pangilinan’s committee to finish its hearings and submit its report to the plenary.
“The Senate will debate and vote on the committee report,” he said.
But Zubiri said no timeline has been set to finish the discussions on Cha-Cha. /ee
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