Duterte wants party-list system changed or ‘removed’ to ‘solve’ problem with NPA – Sotto
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has suggested either an amendment or removal of the provision on party-list in the 1987 Constitution as he wanted “this problem with the CPP-NPA solved.”
Senate President Vicente Sotto III revealed this Thursday as he recalled the meeting between Duterte and lawmakers in November last year where the issue on Charter change (Cha-cha) was tackled.
According to Sotto, Duterte only pushed for amendments on two aspects in the 33-year-old 1987 Constitution: party-list system and economic provisions.
He said the President proposed that the party-list system be either amended or “removed.”
“Ang malinaw na tinanong una ng Presidente pag-upo ay sinabi niya, ‘I want this problem with the CPP-NPA solved.’ So hinantay ko kung ano ang sasabihin niya about it,” the Senate President recalled.
“Sabi niya, ‘The best way is that we remove the party-list system or change it in the Constitution so we can call for a constituent assembly and amend that then, of course, samantalahin n’yo na, you can amend the economic provisions. Pwedeng those two points pwede na’,” he added.
“Mainit na mainit siya doon sa CPP-NPA issue at ang dating sa kanya, some members of House of Representatives, particularly ang Makabayan bloc ay sympathizers or connected sa CPP-NPA, at karamihan ay party-list,” Sotto also said.
Sotto likewise recalled raising the proposal of just amending the party-list law, instead of the 1987 Constitution.
To which, according to the Senate leader, Duterte was cool.
“Ang sagot niya nung una, sabi niya, ‘Dadalhin lang nila sa Supreme Court ‘yan, hahaba ang usapan’,” Sotto said.
He then underscored that Duterte’s remarks on the party-list system were only a suggestion and not an order.
“Hindi order. He was suggesting. That was the word he used. I am suggesting that you look into the problem of party-list system so we can solve this problem with CPP-NPA,” Sotto said.
Asked how he understood Duterte’s suggestion, Sotto said: “He wanted the party-list system amended, resolved, or removed, ganun ang dating akin.”
Nonetheless, Sotto maintains his preference of just amending the party-list law, instead of amending the nation’s Charter.
INQUIRER.net sought comment from the Palace regarding Sotto’s revelations but has yet to receive a reply as of posting time.
In December 2020, Senators Francis Tolentino and Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa filed a resolution convening Congress as a constituent assembly to introduce “limited amendments” to the 1987 Constitution.
In the resolution, the senators said reforms are needed to be introduced to the country’s Constitution “in order to aid the country in achieving economic growth, especially during this time of rising global uncertainty.”
It, however, did not specify what amendments will be introduced to the Constitution. The senators only said the amendments are only “limited to the provisions on democratic representation and the economic provisions of the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, hearings on constitutional amendments will resume in the House of Representatives next week.
Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin, who chairs the House committee on constitutional amendments, said proposed amendments to be discussed will only deal with the “restrictive” economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
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