Padilla’s 2 Cha-cha hearings to continue | Inquirer News

Padilla’s 2 Cha-cha hearings to continue

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:44 AM March 18, 2023
Robinhood Padilla

Senator Robinhood Padilla —PHOTO FROM SENATE PRIB

After Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said that proponents of Charter change (Cha-cha), did not not have the 18 votes needed to pass any legislation on amending the Constitution, House leaders pinned their hopes on Senator Robinhood Padilla to make their case on the Senate floor.

The 53-year-old former movie actor called an online press conference on Friday to appeal to his colleagues to lend an ear to a group of representatives whom Padilla, chair of the Senate panel on constitutional amendments, invited to two public hearings in the Senate next week.


“I wish members of the Senate would listen to what the [House members] are pushing for,” Padilla said in Filipino during a Zoom press briefing. “I just want to be fair. I don’t want the House to think that I prevented their efforts.”

READ: Robin Padilla vows to press on with his Cha-cha despite lacking Senate support


The senator, who was elected to his first Senate term by more than 26 million votes last May, invited his House counterpart, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, to appear at the hearing of his committee on the Cha-cha issue on Monday and Wednesday.

The renowned “bad boy of Philippine cinema” has no experience in the frequently difficult craft of lawmaking, but Padilla is old enough to have witnessed all attempts to revise the 1987 Constitution, starting with the senator’s first presidential patron, the late former President Fidel Ramos.

Ramos, who openly admitted he wanted another presidential term, called off the attempt after he was met with numerous protest rallies. The three other attempts, by former Presidents Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Rodrigo Duterte, also failed due to public opposition.

READ: Told it’s a ‘political suicide,’ Padilla insists Cha-cha to benefit poor Filipinos


But Padilla insisted on echoing previous reasons to amend the 36-year-old Charter: that supposedly restrictive economic provisions prevented foreign investments from coming into the country.

He said he also requested other representatives to attend the hearing so that senators could directly hear from them the reasons why the constitutional provisions on the economy had supposedly hampered economic progress.

Padilla said he was hoping that his colleagues would find time to participate in the hearings and ask his fellow Cha-cha proponents from the House about their motivations in seeking the revision of the Constitution.


READ: Senate panel hearing on Cha-cha ends

“Our hearing is always open to our fellow senators. I’m expecting them to attend the hearings,” he said.

“I want the congressmen to talk freely about their amendments and for the senators to ask them questions why they are insisting [on] those changes,” Padilla added.

He said he decided to prepare two committee reports after concluding on Thursday in Cebu City the three public consultations that he hosted over the past three weeks.

The senator said he also held similar “listening tours” in the cities of Davao and Baguio for the residents of Mindanao and Luzon, respectively.

READ: Amid Cha-cha moves, Robin Padilla wants party-list system abolished: ‘Yan dapat una nating gibain’

Padilla said one of the committee reports would adopt the resolution that the House had approved on March 14 seeking to organize a constitutional convention to alter the Charter.

The other one, he said, would contain the measure filed by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian that proposed the creation of a constituent assembly as the mode in pursuing Cha-cha.

Gatchalian is one of four other senators, aside from Padilla, who are supposedly open to Cha-cha. The others are Senators Francis Tolentino, Ronald dela Rosa, and Christopher Go.

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