Pangilinan on Charter change: House beating a dead horse
Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan reiterated on Monday the Senate’s position to go slow on Charter change (Cha-cha), saying lawmakers in the House of Representatives were “beating a dead horse” in suggesting that a February 2019 plebiscite was possible.
Pangilinan, the Liberal Party president, said there was little hope for the suggestion of Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso that a plebiscite for the federalism initiative might be set early next year.
He reminded Veloso and his colleagues in the House of the consensus in the Senate that there was no more time to amend the Constitution before the 2019 midterm polls.
‘Too late to tinker’
“The Senate, in an all-senators caucus held last July, reached a consensus that it is too late to tinker with Charter change before the May 2019 elections,” Pangilinan said in a text message.
“I do not see any recent development that would merit a change in the position,” he added.
Echoing Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Pangilinan said Charter change was already dead before it could reach the Senate.
“[To revive Charter change] is no different from beating a dead horse, hoping for it to move forward,” he said.
Veloso, chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments, insisted on Sunday that the 292-member legislative body might still wrap up the plenary deliberations on the attempt to amend the 1987 Constitution in December.
“We are not slow in [doing our legislative duties] as perceived by the others there in the [Senate],” he said.
He dismissed reminders that the senators had agreed Charter change would be “dead on arrival” once it reached the Senate. “As I have said, the Senate is only the other half of Congress,” he said.
Veloso, a retired Court of Appeals justice, also said Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had nothing to do with the draft transitory provision removing Vice President Leni Robredo as President Duterte’s constitutional successor.
Line of succession
But he admitted that it was Arroyo herself who directed Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. to recall the draft federal charter and return it to the committee level after Robredo’s removal in the line of succession drew flak from the public.
“It could be to stop the crisis, especially after we were criticized,” Veloso said.
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