I’ll try again: Padilla not backing down on Cha-cha push in Senate
MANILA, Philippines — The seemingly unpromising fate of the move for Charter change (Cha-cha) in the upper chamber has upset Sen. Robinhood Padilla, chair of the panel on constitutional amendments, but he vowed not to back down and try again.
Padilla made public his committee report proposing amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution through a constituent assembly on Friday.
But as he noted the lack of support his proposal had been getting from his fellow senators, Padilla said he has accepted the likely ill-fated ending to his bid for constitutional reform.
“Ganoon talaga. Siyempre, may kaunting kalungkutan pero hindi naman iyon nababalot ng kasawian sapagkat, naniniwala naman tayo na tayo ay nagtrabaho,” he told reporters.
(That’s really how it is. Of course, there’s some sadness, but it’s definitely not shrouded by despair because we believe we are just doing our job.)
Padilla admitted that the only signatures his report may possibly secure are those from his fellow PDP-Laban members – Senators Ronald Dela Rosa, Christopher Go and Francis Tolentino.
The proposal, however, will need at least nine signatures from his committee members before it can be elevated to the plenary for debate.
But Padilla is not backing down as he broached the idea of filing another Cha-cha proposal in the future.
“Ang kailangan naman sa laban na ito ay tuluy-tuloy. Progressive. Siguro sa susunod na taon, uulitin natin ito. Baka sakali, iba na ang ihip ng hangin,” he said.
(The fight must continue. It should be progressive. Maybe next year, we’ll try again. Maybe the atmosphere will be different.)
Several senators, who oppose the bid to tweak the Constitution at this time, have argued the need to see the effects of recently passed economic liberalization laws – the Foreign Investment Act, Public Services Act, and Retail Trade Liberalization Act – before considering changes in the economic provisions of the 36-year-old Charter.
And Padilla, for now, said he is willing to wait and see the results of these measures awaiting implementation.
“Hindi ibig sabihin nun na hindi ko pa ulit susubukan. Meron pa naman sa susunod. Susunod na taon, pwede naman ako mag-file ulit. Bigyan natin ng chance iyong mga pumasang batas na may kinalaman sa ekonomiya,” he added.
(That doesn’t mean we won’t try again. There’s always a next time. Next year, we can refile it. Let’s give these economy-related laws that recently passed a chance.)
Although the move for constitutional reform is treading a turbulent path in the Senate, the lower chamber has cleared the way for a similar proposal.
The House of Representatives has passed a bill to implement the Resolution of Both Houses No. 6, which calls for a “hybrid” constitutional convention to propose changes to the 1987 Constitution.