Cha-cha not a priority for Pnoy – Palace

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Malacañang on Thursday maintained that pushing for Charter change was “not a priority” of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

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In a statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. downplayed allegations that Aquino is behind the efforts of his allies in Congress to have the Constitution amended.

“Walang batayan ang alegasyon na iyan [That allegation has no basis],” Coloma said, adding that the President has not changed his position that he does not see the need for Charter change.

“Malinaw at matibay ang posisyon ng Pangulo na hindi kailangan at hindi prayoridad ang pagbabago ng saligang batas [The President’s position is clear and firm. Charter change is not needed and not a priority],” he added.

Rep. Neri Colmenarez of Bayan Muna party-list claimed that President Aquino had given his blessing to lawmakers to support Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.’s proposal to alter the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions.

But the President has repeatedly insisted that the government could further enhance the business environment even without touching the Constitution.

Citing Aquino’s earlier statement, Coloma said that the Constitution’s restrictive economic provisions are not a necessary detriment to attracting foreign investments.

“When the President visited Korea last year, he reaffirmed his position that the administration has no plan to revise the Constitution. He has consistently maintained that economic restrictions in the Constitution are not detrimental in attracting foreign investments,” Coloma said.

“We remain focused on implementing the priority programs under the Philippine Development Plan that have been instrumental in the country’s attainment of consistently high growth rates for the past seven quarters,” he added.

Meanwhile, Coloma said that the President has no plans to extend his term further than 2016 via Charter change.

He said that the President himself has already clarified that he was even counting the days to the end of his term.

“It is clear to his [the President’s]conscience that he wants to finish his term on the 30th of June 2016,” he said.

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