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Palace: Economic ‘Cha-cha’ not Rody’s ‘desperate attempt’ to stay in power

The Palace on Thursday denied claims that the proposed amendments in the 1987 Constitution were part of the administration’s “desperate” attempt to prolong President Rodrigo Duterte’s stay in power.

In a televised briefing, presidential spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque maintained that the President had no hand in the affairs of Congress.

“First and foremost, the proposed amendments are within the jurisdiction and part of the mandate of our Congress because they’re forming a constituent assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution. That’s their job. The President has nothing to do with that,” he said.

“There was no basis on claims that this is a desperate attempt for the President to hold on to power,” Roque added.

He noted that the changes being eyed were limited to economic provisions of the 35-year-old Charter.

The Palace official also assured the public that Duterte would step down from his post after his term ends in 2022.

“The President won’t remain in his post beyond his term of office in June next year,” Roque said.

He took up the cudgels for Duterte after former Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano, who was also a former agrarian reform secretary, claimed that the proposed amendments in the economic provisions of the Charter were part of efforts to prolong the President’s stay in office.

The House of Representatives on Tuesday adopted on third and final reading the resolutions seeking to amend the Constitution’s supposed “restrictive” economic provisions on a vote of 251-21 with two abstentions.

The development came as the ruling PDP-Laban convinced Duterte to join the vice-presidential race in the next elections.

Under the proposed amendments, Congress would be authorized to pass laws lifting current restrictions on foreign investors.

Lawmakers said the amendments would usher in economic recovery amid the pandemic as the Philippines’ GDP shrank 4.2 percent in the first quarter of 2021 — a negative growth for the fifth consecutive quarter.

mje

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