Lacson says charter ‘too nationalistic,’ backs reforms in economic provisions
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday said he would support changes to the economic provisions under what he described as a “too nationalistic” 1987 Constitution.
“The 1987 Constitution is too nationalistic to uphold because coming from the dictatorship or the regime of ex-President Marcos, talagang naging masyadong nationalistic, hindi tayo nag-open up. And now the world has become very, very small that we need to open up,” Lacson said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
Lacson said he would support amendments to the charter’s economic provisions “as long as we remain very restrictive,” according to the senator.
“Land-ownership, the 40-60 [foreign ownership rule], if we don’t lift that, talagang maiiwanan tayo,” he added.
However, Lacson said Congress must first resolve how its members would vote on proposals to amend the Constitution.
“If three-fourths of the members of Congress will vote and it is not resolved yet or settled yet if we are voting separately or jointly, then where would that put the senators?” he said.
“We’re only 24 and three-fourths of 300 congressmen would be sufficient to outvote and disregard the senators. So that should be resolved first because that’s also an unresolved issue,” he added.
A committee of the House of Representatives has commenced debates to amend the “restrictive” economic provisions of the Constitution by tackling Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, which was filed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco in July 2019.
Under Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 (RBH 2), the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” would be added to the constitutional restrictions that limit the participation of foreign investors in the governing body of entities based on their proportionate share in the capital.
The same phrase would likewise be added to provisions saying only Filipino citizens can control, own, and/or lease alienable lands, public utilities, educational institutions, mass media companies, and advertising companies in the country.
The addition of the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” means Congress would be given the power to pass laws easing foreign investment restrictions in the country.
Other senators have expressed apprehension on bids to amend the Constitution, especially when the country is still reeling from and is recovering from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon suggested that proposals to amend the Charter be tackled in the next Congress.
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