House leader leaves to next Congress, President the push for Cha-cha
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives should just leave the issue of charter change (Cha-cha) to the next President and Congress, as the lower chamber no longer has the time to tackle it, Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez said Tuesday.
Rodriguez, who previously chaired the House committee on constitutional amendments, made the remark after the lower chamber referred Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 7 to the panel level.
The resolution calls on the House and the Senate to convene into a constituent assembly to tackle the proposed term extension for the president, vice president, congressmen, and local officials.
“Obviously, we have no more time to tackle the resolution and other Cha-cha proposals before we adjourn for the election campaign in two weeks, on Feb. 5. So let’s allow the next Congress to decide on Cha-cha,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
Rodriguez said the 19th Congress should resolve during the early part of its three-year term what to do with Cha-cha, adding that the next president should indicate to his/her allies in Congress early in his six-year term what he/she would want them to do with Cha-cha.
“If we decide to pursue it, then we give it priority, along with COVID-19 pandemic response measures. If not, then we set it aside and focus on legislation. This way, we will not be wasting time and taxpayers’ money,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez pointed out that every push to amend the Constitution since the Ramos presidency failed because it was pursued at the 11th hour, giving rise to suspicion that the outgoing administration and its allies were out to lengthen their stay in office.
“To avoid such suspicion and for Cha-cha to succeed, it should be done on the first year of the next Congress and the first year of the six year term of the next President”, Rodriguez said.
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