By Leonel Abasola

Chief Presidential Legal Adviser Juan Ponce Enrile (Photo courtesy of PRIB) 

MANILA – Chief Presidential Legal Adviser Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday proposed the lifting of the ban on nuclear weapons in the 1987 Constitution, describing it as the “most unwanted provision.”

The 99-year old former Senate President attended the public hearing of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments Revisions of Laws and Codes, upon the invitation of Committee chairperson Senator Robinhood Padilla at the Senate.

“We must now remove the restriction imposed by the Cory (Aquino) administration on this country and her people not to have any nuclear weapons in the country. I think in my personal opinion that is the most serious and unwanted provision in the Constitution,” Enrile said.

Padilla, in a media briefing, said the issue on the nuclear provisions will be tackled as soon as they are now done with the hearing on the economic provision, saying he favored the proposal, adding that when the Constitution was made, only a few countries were using nuclear as a source of energy.

Padilla added he invited Enrile who is considered a “legal luminary” whose expertise and experiences in the Constitution is unquestionable .

Article II Section 8 of the 1987 Constitution forbids the presence of nuclear weapons in the Philippines, stating that “the Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.”

Enrile explained that in the modern world today, a small country can protect itself against the superpowers if they have nuclear weapons

“If we can afford it we should also have nuclear weapons so our people will not be trampled upon let alone made a ‘tuta’ (lackey) or ‘alipin’ (slave) of other countries,” Enrile added.

In the same hearing, Enrile said he is supporting Padilla’s proposal on economic provisions, saying he had read some of the latter’s proposals and drafts and he was convinced to support it 101 percent.

As for the mode of charter change, Enrile said he also favors the senator’s constitutional assembly instead of the House of Representatives approved constitutional convention (con-con).

“Now I know that Congress has passed a proposed constitutional convention to do the job that you’re doing. I would also caution them, caution you, because to do a con-con instead of a con-ass will be a disservice to the people of this country,” he said. (PNA)