Says many things to do first, still lawmakers to pursue public hearings
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said that Charter change is “not a priority” of his administration even as the heads of the House and Senate committees on constitutional amendments said they will continue holding public hearings and consultations on “Cha-cha” proposals.
“It is not a priority for me because there are so many things to do… there are so many other things that we need to do first,” Mr. Marcos said Sunday night as he arrived from a five-day official visit to Japan.
“We can still achieve what we want within the present Constitution, with the way the Constitution is written,” he added.
Mr. Marcos acknowledged that talks on Charter change have surfaced “because of the economic provisions.”
“We want to have investment but things like these delays us—you know what are the issues: the ownership, appropriation, things like that,” the President said.
“But for me, all that is being discussed, we can do it even without the Charter change,” he added.
Senator Robin Padilla said he will continue discussing proposals for Charter change even as he described Mr. Marcos’ disinterest in amending the Constitution as “sad.”
Padilla said the entry of foreign direct investments (FDIs) into the country would be limited unless the Constitution is changed.
“I repeat: In any country, the basic law is the Constitution. Because of this, I will continue the hearings to update our Constitution. My job in the Senate is to benefit our Motherland and inform our people about what we are doing,” Padilla said.
The same was echoed by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments.
“We respect the opinion of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on constitutional amendment measures. We will of course consider it. But as an independent branch of government, the House of Representatives and Congress will proceed with its public dialogues on this issue,” he said.
“We laud and commend President Marcos Jr. for trying to entice foreign businessmen in his trips abroad to invest their money in the country. He is our best salesman. But certain restrictive provisions of the Charter could be impeding investments,” Rodriguez added.
He noted that participants in previous hearings have suggested setting up an elected constitutional convention to propose Charter changes.
“The emerging consensus is to relax restrictions on the entry of foreign capital into the country,” Rodriguez said.