Senate to ‘come out’ with Charter tweaks to ease economic limits

Senate to ‘come out’ with Charter tweaks to ease economic limits

/ 12:30 PM February 21, 2024

PHOTO: Composite image of Senate facade with the Senate seal superimposed STORY: Senate to ‘come out’ with Charter tweaks to ease economic limits

MANILA, Philippines — Grateful for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s trust, senators on Wednesday said they were determined to “come out” with the best amendments that would ease restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution.

Marcos earlier ended the political noise surrounding economic Charter change (Cha-cha), saying it was already made clear months ago that the upper chamber would lead the discussion on proposed amendments to the Constitution.


For his part, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri assured Marcos that the review of the suggested amendments is “well underway.”


“I thank President Marcos for reiterating his trust in the Senate to lead the review of the economic provisions of the Constitution, as we had discussed at the start of the year. This review is well underway, with the hearings for Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 proving to be very productive and enlightening, shaped by insight from Constitutionalists, proponents, critics, and all manner of stakeholders, from the education sector to the foreign business chambers,” Zubiri told reporters in a text message.

“Rest assured that we are determined to come out with the best possible amendments that will help relax the economic restrictions of the Constitution, that will benefit our people and uphold our national interest,” he emphasized.

He noted, however, that the chamber remained committed to protecting the rest of the Constitution.

‘Take heed, let Senate lead’

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III maintained that Marcos had already issued a clear directive. Hence, there was a need for all involved to take heed.

“According to the president, the Senate takes the lead. Those who support the president should, therefore, follow his directives: let the Senate take the lead,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel then pointed out that Marcos clearly wanted the Constitution amended.


“Although just a few months ago he said amending the constitution was not one of his priorities. There has clearly been a change of heart,” he added.

‘Lower chamber did not honor the agreement’

Deputy Majority Leader JV Ejercito, on the other hand, said Marcos had to issue a categorical statement on the matter because their counterparts in the lower chamber did not honor the agreement made in front of the country’s chief executive.

“The problem is the people’s initiative efforts continued against what was agreed even after that meeting with the president. The other House did not honor that agreement. There would have been no trouble if the agreement had been followed,” Ejercito, speaking partly in Filipino, told reporters

‘Grateful for RBH7’

Sen. Bong Revilla also thanked Marcos for bestowing his trust in the upper chamber, but he likewise stated that he was grateful to the House of Representatives for filing Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 7, mimicking the Senate’s RBH No. 6.

“We are also grateful to our counterparts in the House for filing RBH 7 and immediately scheduling it for hearing. This proposal mirrors RBH 6 in the Senate and will usher in an expeditious and efficient consideration and resolution of issues and concerns on the proposed amendments,” Revilla said.

“There is nothing wrong with having the House and the Senate discuss the proposed amendments to the Constitution at the same time,” he added in Filipino.

Revilla claimed that it would be better for Filipinos if both chambers of Congress would conclude the Cha-cha discussions sooner.

“Those that need to be changed in the Constitution should be resolved as soon as possible, and there should be a united compass towards the formulation of proposals that will raise the state of living of our countrymen. In the end, the Senate and the House have the same desire — to give our people a better future,” he said.


Meanwhile, now that discussions on economic Cha-cha are set in both chambers of Congress, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said he was hoping that the bickering borne out of the controversial people’s initiative will finally stop.

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Estrada said he is hoping that the ongoing collaborative effort in Congress results in positive changes that benefit all Filipinos.

“I also hope that now that the process is underway in the two houses of Congress, we can put aside the differences in this matter and fulfill our sworn mandate, being legislators and advocates for the welfare of the majority of our countrymen and the interests of the people,” he said.

TAGS: charter change, Constitution, Senate

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