MEXICO CITY: Leftist lawmakers padlocked and placed chairs over the doors of the chamber of deputies on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) to prevent debate on a major energy reform bill that passed the Senate hours earlier. Around 20 legislators took over the lower chamber’s podium, unfurling a banner with the words “traitors” after senators approved legislation aimed at opening the state-run energy sector to foreign companies for the first time in 75 years. “We cannot allow a handful of people to take and give away the nation’s property,” deputy Maria Luisa Alcalde of the Citizen Movement Party said from the podium, joined by members of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and the Workers Party. Chairs were piled over each other in front of one door while chains were wrapped around another. The left, which sees the reform as an attempt to privatize state-run company Pemex, wants the reform to be put before Mexicans in a referendum. The bill is the centerpiece of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s reform drive, which has included new tax collection, telecommunications and education laws in an effort to revitalize Latin America’s second biggest economy. The legislation would let private firms explore and extract oil and gas, as well as share profits, production and risk with Pemex, ending a ban cemented in the country’s very constitution.