House solon urges Senate to give constitutional reform a chance
MANILA, Philippines — Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte said Friday that the ball is now in the court of the Senate after the House of Representatives approved proposals calling for Charter change.
In a statement, Villafuerte urged the Senate to give constitutional reform a chance as the House passed Resolution of – two measures calling for the establishment of a constitutional convention (con-con) to amend the 1987 Constitution.
“Given the supermajority vote in the House for both the resolution and [the] accompanying implementing bill on constitutional reform via the con-Con route, the ball is now in the Senate’s court on whether to consider fixing in timely fashion the anachronistic economic provisions of the Constitution that have for long put a dampener on FDI (foreign direct investment) inflows,” he said.
“Our senators need to give this latest constitutional reform initiative a chance […] if only out of consideration for the passage in quick succession by the House of Representatives of the resolution establishing a Con-Con to propose economic amendments to the 1987 Charter and the accompanying bill on its operational details,” he added.
Villafuerte was one of the lawmakers who filed proposed measures seeking Charter change. The proposals calling for amendments to the 1987 Constitution were consolidated in RBH No. 6 while HB No. 7352, if enacted, would be the enabling law for RBH No. 6.
There have been questions about the course of the Charter change proposal moving forward in the Senate, especially since no less than Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri had expressed surprise over the House’s enthusiasm to to amend the 1987 Constitution.
Zubiri even went on to say that the focus on Charter change delayed the approval of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for three important legislations — the Public Service Act (Republic Act No. 11659), Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RA 11595), and Foreign Investment Act (RA 11647).
The remarks of the Senate’s top leader elicited a response from his counterpart at the lower chamber.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said it is not wrong if the House does its job quickly. He also claimed that their quick action on Charter change was due to their concern on the country’s welfare and not because of politics.
Villafuerte, for his part, suggested that the Senate committee on constitutional amendments can tackle Charter change proposals to really see if senators are “lukewarm” on the bills.
The Camarines Sur lawmaker, however, maintained that if the measure would really not gain enough votes in the Senate, they would respect the decision of the upper chamber.
“A timely consideration of the Charter change proposal now pending with the Senate committee on constitutional amendments will reveal to our people whether senators are indeed lukewarm about constitutional reform, as claimed by Senate President Migz,” he said.
“We in the House would respect such a decision by a majority of our senators and let this latest initiative on constitutional reform kick the bucket,” he added.