House leader junks Drilon’s call for cha-cha deferment until June 2022
MANILA, Philippines — House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez opposed Tuesday the call of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon to defer charter change (Cha-cha) deliberations until the 19th Congress in June 2022.
Rodriguez, who previously chaired the House committee on constitutional amendments, said that this year is the “best time” to approve the proposed changes to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
“I welcome Senator Drilon’s openness to economic reform in the Constitution, but I am against his suggestion that we delay working on it by almost two years,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
According to Rodriguez, by adding the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in the Charter’s restrictive economic provisions, Congress would have the power to allow for more foreign investor participation in business if the country’s economic situation warrants it.
The House leader said that if the House and the Senate approve the economic amendments and voters ratify it in a plebiscite to be conducted simultaneously with the May 2022 elections, Congress would already have the power in the latter part of next year to change the restrictions to attract more foreign investments.
Rodriguez said that many economists are projecting that the country would only start attaining pre-pandemic growth next year or in 2023.
“So by that time, the constitutional economic reform the Speaker and the House envision should already be in place to help speed up our recovery from this crippling pandemic. We might miss the boat if we follow Sen. Drilon’s suggestion,” Rodriguez said.
The lawmaker insisted that there is enough time this year for the House and the Senate to work on the “simple five-word amendment proposal.”
On Monday, Drilon questioned the timing of moves to amend the 1987 Constitution even as he expressed support for easing economic provisions in the country’s main charter.
Drilon said the 18th Congress would not have enough time for Cha-cha.
The House committee on constitutional amendments is currently tackling Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, which was filed by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco in July 2019.
Under 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.
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