House disputes Zubiri claim on delayed laws
The primary movers of Charter change (Cha-cha) at the House of Representatives took exception on Thursday to Senate President Miguel Zubiri’s suspicion that the delayed approval of implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for three vital laws aimed at bringing in more foreign investments was due to moves to amend the 1987 Constitution.
Speaker Martin Romualdez said that while the lower chamber was in a rush to amend restrictive economic provisions in the constitution, it also had no plan of “slowing down or relaxing” in legislating measures to create the right environment to boost economic activities and job creation.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, another Cha-cha proponent, said that Zubiri “may be seeing ghosts where there are none.”
He called Zubiri’s suspicion “foul” and “pure speculation that has no basis at all.”
“The House has no control over the executive agencies tasked to implement the three laws by issuing implementing rules and regulations,” he added. “He should give us, his former colleagues in the House of Representatives, and executive officials some good faith.”
Zubiri earlier expressed suspicion that the delay in the approval of the final enforcing guidelines for the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization and the Foreign Investment Act could be due to the Cha-cha push.
The three laws were sufficient to attain the goal sought by Cha-cha proponents—to attract more foreign investments into the country, Zubiri stressed, adding that the measure did not have enough support in the Senate.
“Are they delaying [the approval of IRR] for some underlying reason? Why don’t they let the IRR go and let it out so that more direct foreign investments can come to the country,” Zubiri asked in a TV interview.
Rodriguez said that Zubiri and anti-Cha-cha senators should give House members the benefit of the doubt, pointing out that “the best proof that we want the envisioned constitutional convention (Con-con) to limit itself to the economic provisions is the seven-month deadline for this assembly to finish its job.”
Zubiri earlier downplayed assurances by House lawmakers that constitutional amendments would be limited to “restrictive” economic provisions, saying that there was no stopping Con-con delegates from taking up political provisions as well. He has also repeatedly stressed that there was not enough senators backing Cha-cha at the moment.
Romualdez, meanwhile, assured the public that the House has not been remiss in its job and would continue to craft laws to boost the economy and improve the living condition of Filipinos.
“If we are working speedily, this is because the interest of Filipinos are at stake. Not politics but the country’s economy. Not election but the mission to uplift the lives of our countrymen from poverty. When has it become a crime to work fast for the country?” he said in a statement.
Romualdez also argued that fundamental investment restrictions in the constitution could not be corrected by simple legislation or by executive decisions, making Cha-cha the only solution.