Amending Charter will be difficult – lawmaker

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 Members of progressive organizations hold a rally in Mendiola, Manila to condemn plans to amend the Constitution to give President Benigno aquino 3rd a chance to extend his term beyond 2016. PHoto By Ruy l. MaRtineZ

Members of progressive organizations hold a rally in Mendiola, Manila to condemn plans to amend the Constitution to give President Benigno aquino 3rd a chance to extend his term beyond 2016. PHoto By Ruy l. MaRtineZ

President Benigno Aquino 3rd has not given any orders to his allies in Congress to start the process of Charter change but some of his supporters at the House of Representatives have begun considering simultaneous amendments to some of the political and economic provisions of the Constitution.

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House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd on Tuesday said lawmakers can introduce political amendments that will allow the President to extend his term beyond 2016 while debates are conducted over economic amendments that would relax the restrictions on foreign investors.

Gonzales broached the idea at the resumption of debates over Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 1 authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., which seeks to lift the 40 percent restriction on foreign ownership of public utilities such as power, mass media, water, telecommunications and land.

Aquino last week said he was open to Charter change or Cha-cha that could lead to his term extension.

“That [proposing political amendments]can be done in any bill [on the floor]come the period of committee and individual amendments. Nobody can stop anybody from proposing amendments. The question is, would that amendment have the required support and be accepted [in the bill]?” Gonzales said during the Ugnayan sa Batasan News Forum.

“Kung wala kang suporta, tumbalelong ka diyan [Without support, you’ll flip over],” he added.

Gonzales was referring to the legislative mill wherein a bill is filed by a lawmaker, referred to the committee concerned and discussed and approved in the committee level before finally being subjected to plenary debates.

A proposed amendment will then be inserted in the bill if majority of the quorum votes for
it. Otherwise, the proposed amendment is rejected. A bill will need a simple majority vote for it to be approved on second and third reading.

But in the case of RBH 1, which amends the Constitution, at least three fourths of the 294-strong House members should vote for changing the Constitution for it to take effect.
“Our priority is the economic ChaCha because it is the measure which was already reported out on the [plenary]floor. This political Cha-cha is a new development and a bill on it is yet to be filed. But if a bill is indeed filed, then we let the process begin. Let’s see if it gains support. We can’t stop a member of Congress from exercising his or her right to file bills,” Gonzales said.

Rep. Edgar Erice of Caloocan City (Metro Manila), a member of the ruling Liberal Party like Gonzales, has been saying that he is set to file a bill that will allow the President to seek a second term but he is yet to lodge such a measure.

But while everybody is free to file a bill, Gonzales said, amending the Constitution, regardless if it is economic or political in nature, remains very difficult.

He cited the case of a move similar to RBH 1 that was also backed by Speaker Belmonte and himself in the 15th Congress but still fizzled out abruptly.

“Nothing happened on the economic Cha-cha during the 15th Congress even with us supporting it. The LP cannot do it alone because we only have 113 members here. You need three-fourths vote [to amend the Constitution],” Gonzales pointed out, referring to the ruling Liberal Party headed by President Aquino.

“The majority coalition is big. You would need the NPC, NP, NUP, party-list coalition on board for a consensus. Otherwise, it is not going to happen,” he said, referring to the Nationalist People’s Coalition, the Nacionalista Party and the National Union Party.

Junk Cha-cha
But House Deputy Minority Leader Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list called on his colleagues to oppose any kind of Charter change.

“We must defeat the Liberal Party’s self-serving move because it would worsen the already sorry state of the country. The Aquino government should heed the voice of the people and junk Cha-cha,” Colmenares said in a separate statement.

“The government should provide more jobs, better social services and prevent the supposed crises that we are about to face like the power shortage and water shortage without adding another burden to the people,” he added.

Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis party-list also vowed to block Cha-cha.

“Pushing for Cha-cha will only hasten President Aquino’s political isolation and will lead to divisiveness. Cha-cha is a political disaster waiting to happen,” he said.

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6 Comments

  1. Malinaw na malinaw na hindi siya ang President kung mag-decide o gumawa ng sariling decisions ang mga nakapaligid sa kaniya. Or kunwari lang na ang mga nakapaligid sa kaniya ang may gustong humaba ang termino niya para hindi lalo pang muling madungisan ang madungis na niyang pangunguna’t panunungkulan. Later on….. he will just use this alibi, “Gusto nila akong maging presidente nila, ano ang magagawa ko.”

  2. never underestimate the resolve of defeated & humiliated men. the people should keep watching and not lose track of any for their sneaky moves to outskirt adversaries. there are lots of sleazy persons in congress that will move heaven and earth to hold on to power and source of monies.

  3. Rep Gonzales,baka negative,baka negative,baka difficult,baka difficult,aba anong clasing pagiisip yan.Magapatuka ka na lang sa ahas,there is nothing impossible in this world you just got to make it happen.Unless you lose your marbles then you have a problem.

  4. Contra CHA-CHA = EDSA Quatro

    Aquino and LP’s only hope to stay in Power to avoid going to jail is to amend the Constitution and extend the term of the President.

    The people will not allow this to happen.

    Let them try and see what happens.

    If they want to amend the Constitution – Through Constitutional Convention

  5. I believe that having the Pork Team push for term limit extensions by amending the Constituion is a good thing for them to work on. They will push so they avail themselves of more bribes through pork. It is good to have them wasting their time instead of stealing more money. In the end the people will speak and their work will explode in their faces. All of those working against the people will find themselves out in the street.

  6. Arch. Angelito Lingan Mallonga on

    I fully support to extend another 2 years for Pres. Aquino to carry
    on with his programs he has started. Only two years maximum
    and not more.

    As for the constitution amendment being proposed by Speaker
    of the House on economic changes , I will never agree that Foreign
    companies has to be given the right to have 100% on any of their
    operations in the Philippines.

    Remember that we have a very small land base with almost
    00 Million People and almost 85% are farmers. The Philippines
    should have full control and not those foreign investors. The
    present law on the 60% Filipino and 40% Foreign remain as it is.
    hat is why
    I signed the MOA with the NGO of Papua New Guinea when
    I was in PH cause we need more land on a joint undertaking
    with them to produce more food with That is the Bottom Line.

    Mining should be restricted and all should abide in protecting
    our environment to make sure what happened in Marinduque
    during the administration of Pres. Fidel Ramos won’t happen
    again. Always remember that the Philippines with approx.
    7,100 Islands are all surrounded by the sea, water and lakes.
    PROTECT THE PHILIPPINE ENVIORONMENT !!!!!!

    Too many problems of the country that needs to be address in
    the years ahead.Too much talking and I am just so tired on all
    the news I hear and read. No ever ending news from the Media
    at paulit ulit na ito hangang gayon.

    No one believe all the news and what they say. Most of our
    leaders anyways are involved on the PORK BARREL including
    Our Own Supreme Court who up to know do not give the
    detailed report and give in to the BIR that is the bottom line!!!!