Sen. Robin Padilla on Friday admitted feeling “sadness” over the likely failure of his bid to amend some provisions of the 1987 Constitution, citing the lack of support from his colleagues.
“Of course, there is some sadness, but that’s just how it is. Of course, there is some sadness, but there is no despair because we believe we are merely working,” he said.
Padilla is chairperson of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes, which conducted hearings for a possible Charter change.
Out of 24 senators, Padilla said only he and senators Francis Tolentino, Ronald dela Rosa, and Christopher Go would likely back the proposed Cha-cha.
Padilla said his office already distributed copies of his committee report to all senators with the hope that “they would read it.”
The report needs to have at least nine committee members’ signatures before it can be referred to the plenary for deliberation and debate.
But for Padilla, his fight for Cha-cha is not yet over since he still has three more years as a senator.
Padilla reiterated that the said Cha-cha will benefit the “long-suffering economy” and the people with amendments to at least seven economic provisions. He noted this was the gist of the committee report and proposed Resolution of Both Houses prepared by the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes.
Padilla’s committee report is the result of eight committee hearings, including three in Davao City, Baguio City, and Cebu City.
“Whereas, to accelerate economic growth and fulfill its international commitment, the Philippines must amend its Constitution by removing restrictive economic provisions to allow foreign businesses to directly invest in a more conducive landscape,” Padilla said in his committee report.
He added it would be more cost-efficient for the Philippines to amend the Constitution via constitutional assembly
Citing government data, he said this will entail P46 million if held simultaneously with the Barangay/SK Elections this October.
In contrast, an election of delegates for the Constitutional Convention would amount to P14.7 billion if the election is held simultaneously with the Barangay/SK Elections; and P28.5 billion if held separately from the Barangay Elections. This is aside from an added P28.5 billion for the plebiscite of the amendments proposed by the Con-con.
Padilla hopes the senators would read the report during the break, even as he is prepared to defend it in plenary.
He is also looking forward to work with counterparts in the House of Representatives to iron out the differences.
Under the committee report, all provisions of existing laws, rules, and regulations imposing protectionist or nationality prohibitions on the exploration, development, and utilization of natural resources; ownership of private lands; grant of congressional franchises; ownership, and operation of public utilities; ownership of educational institutions; and ownership and management of mass media and advertising, “shall remain in full force and effect, until their enabling laws take effect.”
In seeking the economic amendments, Padilla noted the Philippines ranks 13th out of 14 economies in the Asia-Pacific in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) attractiveness due to its poor infrastructure and competitiveness rankings.