Why the rush? Zubiri tells House to ‘go slow’ on Cha-cha
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri remained baffled why the House of Representatives is rushing to amend the 1987 Constitution.
Though Charter change (Cha-cha) is not a priority of the Marcos administration, Zubiri said discussions on it continue in the Senate with the committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes holding consultation meetings around the country.
He said he even advised the panel chairman, Senator Robin Padilla, to continue doing his job despite his earlier claim that there is no number in the Senate to push for Cha-cha approval.
“We’ve not prevailed upon him (Padilla) to stop that so he’s doing his job. We’re doing our job to listen to the people’s voice on this particular issue,” Zubiri said in an interview over ANC’s “Headstart.”
“However, going to the gist of it, I don’t understand why our dear colleagues in the House would like to rush this when in all honesty we passed the economic measures in the 18th Congress,” he said.
The Senate leader then cited at least three economic measures — The Public Services Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Foreign Investments Act — which he said could already address the “restrictive” economic provisions in the Constitution.
The Cha-cha proposal through a “hybrid” constitutional convention was already passed by the House last week.
In the Senate, however, Zubiri reiterated that there is not enough number “to dance the Cha-Cha.”
“We need 18 votes to dance the Cha-cha. I don’t think we have 18 votes to dance the Cha-cha,” he stressed.
“For us, it’s moot and academic…” the Senate leader added, saying that the chamber might as well focus on other pressing measures to help solve the country’s problems such as inflation and smuggling.
Zubiri also insisted that once the Cha-cha proposal is approved, the amendments would go beyond economic provisions.
“I know what’s being discussed even if we’re not invited. I know whats going on with my friends in the lower house. Ang akin lang dyan, let’s go slow, hinay-hinay,” he further said.