UNITED Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general Toby Tiangco on Wednesday said efforts to push for changes to the 1987 Constitution should be deferred since these are contentious, divisive and a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Tiangco made the call after Speaker Feliciano Belmonte declared that he would continue to push for Charter change in the 16th Congress despite the pronouncement of President Benigno Aquino 3rd that it is not a priority of his administration.
“Why waste time and resources of the House when we should focus on the priority measures of the Aquino administration which the President will spell out in his SONA?” Tiangco said.
Belmonte had insisted that vital amendments are necessary since restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution make it difficult to attract investments and create jobs.
“We are all aware that the country needs social and economic reforms. Investments would come in if we are consistent with our policies, we have sound economic fundamentals and an efficient bureaucracy. But at this point, Charter change would be counter-productive and divisive,” Tiangco said.
He added that Congress should work on more pressing matters other than amending the constitution.
“I simply don’t understand why every time Congress opens, the ‘Cha-cha Syndrome’ would hug the House leadership. It has now become a cyclical sickness that affects the productivity of the legislature,” he noted.
Tiangco said Charter change initiatives have died a dozen deaths and should be left buried in the archives.
“There were a lot of more important bills in the last Congress that failed passage or did not even get to pass first reading just because of misdirected priorities. While there are things that should be left buried in the ditch like ‘cha-cha’, others are worth the dig,” Tiangco said.
“I agree with the President’s statement that our economy can grow even without Cha-cha. We did in fact achieve growth even at a time when the rest of the world was in an economic meltdown,” he said.
Malacañang said the President has been consistent with his stand on charter change and does not see its urgency.
“Why push for Charter Change when the President already said ‘no’?” asked Tiangco.