By Wilnard Bacelonia
MANILA – A review of the constitution is always a welcome move, thus Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III’s expression of support on the House of Representatives plan to resume discussions on the amendment of the charter next year.
Pimentel said 2024 is the best time to discuss possible constitutional amendments, or right before the 2025 midterm elections.
“At least those running in 2025, pwedeng i-demand ng mga botante kung ano ang stand nila sa charter change. Saan ka ba? Sa business changes ka ba or sa governmental changes ka? Pagdating sa governmental changes, saan ka dun? Doon ka ba sa mababaw o doon ka ba sa malalim (voters can ask about their stand on charter change. Whose side are you on? Business changes or governmental changes? When it comes to governmental changes, will you go deep or shallow)?” Pimentel said.
Pimentel said the constitution should be reviewed from time to time.
“It is always a good time to review the Constitution. Parang reviewing laws din ‘yan (It is like reviewing laws). We should also review the Constitution,” he said.
However, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said there are questions which “will need to be answered before the Senate will be convinced to discuss these matters.”
“First, is this really the right time to discuss it? Numbers will show that our economy is on its way to recovery. We have recently passed the Public Private Partnership Act which we authored in the Senate. We also passed laws such as the Retail Trade Liberalization Law, the Foreign Investments Act, and the Public Service Act. We need to see the full impact of these laws first before we talk about Charter Change,” Villanueva said in a statement.
“Second, will it undergo the right process? We need to know these details before we engage in any debate on Cha-cha [charter change],” he added
Pimentel admitted that his political group, PDP-Laban (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan), is advocating for federalism.
“So, kapag sinabing review the Constitution, open ako diyan but for federalism, huwag ‘yung ibang (if it is about reviewing the Constitution, I am open for that but for federalism, not about other) agenda,” he clarified.
Pimentel also made it clear that if it were up to him, he won’t tamper with the economic side, especially the granting of land ownership to foreigners and exploration of natural resources.
He said political provisions can be discussed, but not the term limits.
“Hayaan na ‘yang term limits kasi we are forcing new bloods sa politika. Maganda ‘yung idea na ‘yun. Huwag nating alisin ‘yun. It’s the relationship between the national and the local. ‘Yan ‘yung federalism na pwedeng pag-aralan natin (Leave the term limits alone because we are forcing new bloods into politics. The idea is good. We should not remove it. It’s the relationship between the national and local. That is the federalism which we can study),” Pimentel explained.
House Speaker Martin Romualdez on Tuesday raised the need to revisit the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution “to make it more attuned, sensitive, and responsive through the times.” (PNA)