The Senate building at the GSIS Complex in Pasay City. (Photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — In light of the House of Representatives’ renewed push for an economic Charter change (Cha-cha), senators on Tuesday said those who are keen in amending the 1987 Philippine Constitution have “a lot of convincing” and “explaining to do” in the upper chamber.

Pimentel: Chacha talks still ‘cold’ in Senate

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who made it clear that he is openly supporting Cha-cha through federalism, admitted that Cha-cha interest is still cold in the upper chamber.

“Kung sino man ang gustong mag amend [the Constitution], he has a lot of convincing to do sa Senado. Cold [parin ang Cha-cha] dito [sa Senado] at mapapagastos tayo dyan,” Pimentel told reporters in an ambush interview.

(Whoever wants to amend [the Constitution] has a lot of convincing to do in the Senate. [The Cha-cha is still cold] here [in the Senate] and we will spend money there.)

The opposition leader, however, pointed out that Cha-cha should be talked about, especially if the motivations to do so are inclined in improving the Philippine government.

“Ako, as the party man of PDP-Laban, we advocate for federalism. So, pag sinabing review the Constitution, open ako dyan, but federalism. Huwag yung ibang agenda,” he stressed.

(I, as the party man of PDP-Laban, we advocate for federalism. So, when there are calls to review the Constitution, I am open to that, but only for federalism. Let’s not include another agenda.)

Imee Marcos: Maybe someone wants to be a Prime Minister in PH

Seemingly exasperated by the repeated attempts to push for Cha-cha, Senator Imee Marcos reiterated that her brother — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. –  himself has already spoken against this move, noting that it is untimely.

“So stubborn. PBBM already said that it is not timely because we should focus on people’s livelihood and bring down the price of rice and other commodities. The Senate has rejected that twice, why insist?” the senator said, partly in Filipino.

Prodded why such moves are still happening, Marcos said in jest: “Baka may gustong mag[ing] prime minister na hindi manalo sa presidente?”

(Maybe there is someone who wants to be prime minister and can’t win in a presidential elections?)

Joel Villanueva: Is it the right time to discuss it?

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, on the other hand, said one question that instantly comes to his mind whenever talks about charter change pop up is if it’s the right time to discuss such moves.

“Is this really the right time to discuss it? Numbers will show that our economy is on its way to recovery. We have recently passed the Public Private Partnership Act which we authored in the Senate. We also passed laws such as the Retail Trade Liberalization Law, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Public Service Act. We need to see the full impact of these laws first before we talk about Cha-cha,” said Villanueva in a text message to reporters.

He likewise raised his concern whether Cha-cha will undergo the right process, highlighting that the upper chamber needs to know these details before it engages in any debate on the topic.

“These questions will need to be answered before the Senate will be convinced to discuss these matters,” said Villanueva.

Chiz Escudero: Cha-cha pushers need to clear, clarify their stand

Similar to what Pimentel pointed out, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said those who are pushing for Cha-cha need to clarify the following:

  • What specific procedure will they follow or take in amending the Constitution?
  • What are their specific proposals or amendments vis-a-vis the 1987 Constitution?

READ: Padilla assures Cha-cha will only cover economic provisions, not political

Escudero said no position for or against can be made without these specifics as a starting point for any discussion to amend the Constitution.

READ: Romualdez mulling revisiting Cha-cha for economic provision amendments

“There is no perfect or imperfect time to review the Constitution but, as I said, they should be clear and unequivocal in regard to my two queries,” Escudero added.



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House Speaker Martin Romualdez on Tuesday said the lower chamber intends to push once more for the amendment of the 1987 Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions in 2024.



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