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Solon fears non-economic provisions may also be tackled in constitutional amendments

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
/ 03:15 PM January 13, 2021
ACT party-list Rep. France Castro

ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — House Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro on Wednesday said she feared that no one can stop tackling the amendments of non-economic provisions to the 1987 Constitution.

During the hearing of the House committee on constitutional amendments tackling Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, Castro raised the possibility that both the House and Senate might tackle amendments to the Constitution other than economic provisions.

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Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2, filed by Speaker Lord  Allan Velasco as early as July 2019, seeks to amend provisions that prevent foreign ownership of land and businesses in the country, and to ease restrictions on ownership and management of mass media, public utilities, educational institutions, investments and foreign capital.

“Halimbawa, yung Senate ngayon, nagsasabi sila hindi lang economic provision on maybe on terms. So ang mangyayari, Mr. chair, halimbawa ito lang yung pinagbotohan natin certain provisions, and then sila , meron silang iba?” Castro asked House committee chair Alfredo Garbin Jr.

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(For example, the Senate said that they will not only stick to economic provisions or maybe on terms. So Mr. chair,  what will happen is we will vote on such certain provisions, and then they also have their own?)

Apart from Velasco, Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino filed Senate Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, which seeks amendments of provisions that are “limited to the provisions on democratic representation and the economic provisions of the Constitution.”

In response, Garbin told Castro: “I cannot speak for the Senate. In fact, they are about to hold a caucus.”

Garbin then told Castro that should Senate members agree to approve changes to the Constitution, which is different from the House version, this can be tackled in a bicameral conference committee.

“And kung ano man yung produkto ng conference committee, which is the position also of the chair or the position of the vice chair, will still be ratified by 3/4 vote of all members of Congress, of course voting separately,” Garbin said.

(And whatever is the product of the conference committee, which is the position of the chair and also the position of the vice chair, will still be ratified by 3/4 vote of all members of Congress, of course voting separately.)

“So tama nga po yung pangamba, namin na hindi talaga strictly fo economic provision Ito. Kasi kapag nag-combine, when we combine both houses, walang magpe-prevent sa both Houses no na talakayin yung economic provisions, including din yung political,” Castro then said.

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(So our fears are correct, that this isn’t strictly with economic provisions. Because when this is combined, when we combine both houses, no one can prevent not only economic provisions, but also political.)

But panel vice-chairman and Iloilo 3rd District Rep. Lorenz Defensor then told Castro that the House panel will stick with the discussion of the amendments tackling economic provisions, which is stated in RBH No. 2.

“Kung ano lang po yung laman ng House Resolution, hindi po tayo pwede lumabas doon. Kung sakaling may ibang bersyon naman po ang Senado na pinasa, wala po ‘yan sa saklaw ng ating House resolution, “  he said.

(What is stated in the House Resolution, we cannot go beyond it. If the Senate has passed another version, it is outside of our House version.)

JPV
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TAGS: 1987 Constitution, Alfredo Garbin Jr., Charter change, France Castro, House of Representatives, Lorenz Defensor
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