Legislators led by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Friday welcomed the declaration by President Marcos of his full support for the House advocacy of amending the Constitution’s “restrictive” economic provisions.
“I think our push for economic reform in the Charter, which the Senate has always ignored and sent to the graveyard, is at last now alive and kicking with the President’s pronouncement,” he said.
“That of course will depend on how senators respond to President Marcos’ statements. And I hope that they respond positively by treating Charter reform with a sense of urgency,” he said.
Rodriguez, who chairs the House committee on constitutional amendments, reiterated the assurance of Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez that the House would quickly adopt Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) 6 as soon as it is sent by the Senate.
“We are just waiting for senators to send us their own resolution, and as the Speaker has declared, we will promptly adopt it. There is hope that we could soon finish what we failed to complete for more than three decades since the 8th Congress,” he said.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, on the other hand, interpreted the President’s pronouncements as the death of the “fake people’s initiative.”
“At this point in time I believe that the fake people’s initiative is dead in the water,” Zubiri said.
Senator Sonny Angara, who chairs the hearings on the proposed changes in the economic provisions of the 1987 charter, however expressed doubts if Mr. Marcos’s declaration would be “strong enough” to stop the people’s initiative.
Angara has said the Senate aims to submit the proposed charter changes by October.
Reps. Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte and David Suarez of Quezon said with President Marcos supporting the removal of restrictive economic provisions, it is time for the Senate to work with the House to begin the grand debates on Charter Change.
“The President has broken his silence and finally endorsed constitutional economic reforms. Senators should at the very least listen. They have been calling on the President to settle the issue.
They now got what they are asking for. The prolonged word war between the Senate and the House of Representatives should now hopefully come to an end and start working,” Barbers added.
“This should clear the doubts of some Senators, especially from a former party-list colleague, that the House wants more than economic reforms to the 37-year-old charter. The President’s remarks are the endorsement we all need to assure the Senate that there is no basis in their accusations against alleged House plans to abolish it or take it out of the equation,” Barbers said.
Suarez, a deputy speaker, echoed a similar appeal, saying that the Senate must prioritize the urgent need for economic constitutional reform and heed the call of the President to enact the necessary amendments to its economic provisions.
“The successful passage of RBH No. 6 will not only validate the efforts of the administration to promote economic development but also vindicate the aspirations of millions of Filipinos for a better and brighter future,” Suarez added.
Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. also lauded the President’s full support for the House of Representatives’ push for economic reform in the Constitution.
“Changing the language of the Charter’s restrictive economic provisions to enable the country to attract more foreign investments can be the legacy of PBBM (President Bongbong Marcos) and the 19th Congress,” he said.
Gonzales added that the House is not giving the Senate any deadline to finish deliberations on the resolution.
“The Senate president has a self-imposed timeline – adopt the resolution, to quote him, ‘this quarter, before the Holy Week break.’
We are just going by that pronouncement,” the Senior Deputy Speaker said.
— Maricel Cruz & Macon Ramos-Araneta
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