Zubiri to keep ‘open mind’ on Cha-cha, Romualdez says after talking with senator
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri has assured his colleagues in the House of Representatives he will keep an open mind regarding proposals calling for charter change (Cha-cha), Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said after talking with his counterpart.
Romualdez said in a statement that he got the chance to talk with Zubiri on Sunday regarding the topic of constitutional reform — which has been a point of contention between the two chambers of Congress.
“I had the privilege of talking with the Senate President over the phone today, and we conversed briefly on the topic of Constitutional reforms. SP Migz personally assured me that he will keep an open mind on the move by the House of Representatives to institute economic reforms through constitutional amendments,” Romualdez said on Sunday.
“He informed me that the Senate is awaiting the report of their Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes chaired by Sen. Robinhood Padilla, for appropriate plenary action,” he added.
The House recently passed two measures, Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 and House Bill (HB) No. 7352, both seeking to use a constitutional convention to amend the 1987 Constitution. RBH No. 6 is a call for charter change, while HB No. 7352 if enacted will be the enabling law.
However, Zubiri questioned the House’s rush to approve the measure, saying that key economic laws were already passed by the 18th Congress. Romualdez in response said they were only rushing for the sake of the country’s economy, and not because of politics.
After the House approved the proposed measures, Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte stressed that the charter change ball is now in the Senate’s court, noting that they have done their part. Villafuerte however assured the Senate that they will respect whatever decision the upper chamber would arrive at.
Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga meanwhile urged lawmakers from both Houses to exercise parliamentary courtesy and stop the word war over the push for a charter change.
Romualdez hopes other senators would join Zubiri in maintaining an open mindset regarding their proposals.
“I trust that other senators will continue to join SP Migz in keeping their mind open on amending restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution,” he added.
While President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has maintained that charter change is not needed to attract foreign investments, Romualdez said that joining the Chief Executive’s official visits abroad has led him to the conclusion that amending the constitution is needed.
Romualdez has referred to charter change as the “last piece of the puzzle” toward the country’s economic growth.