With Charter change or “Cha-cha” seemingly dead in its tracks, Sen. Robinhood Padilla said Thursday he would settle for amendments to the Public Services Act (PSA) and the passage of the Maharlika Investment Fund bill, which he hopes will bring in foreign investments into the country.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday certified as urgent the Senate version of the Maharlika Investment Fund Bill to ensure its passage before Congress adjourns sine die next week.
In his letter to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri dated May 22, Mr. Marcos tagged as high-priority Senate Bill 2020 or the proposed MIF bill.
“We will pass it next week,” Zubiri said later in a text message.
Certifying the bill as urgent will allow the Senate to forgo the three-day rule as mandated by the 1987 Constitution between the proposed measure’s second and third reading.
Padilla, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, also vowed to push for a term extension for the President and other local officials.
Instead of the prevailing six-year term for the Chief Executive, Padilla – the first-time senator who has championed changes to the Constitution — wants a four-year term with re-election. With Maricel V. Cruz
“A four-year term and a re-election will afford a President to continue his projects,” he said.
The former action star noted that if a President is performing well, a six-year term is not enough. But for a President who is not doing good, a six-year term will mean a long agony to his constituents, he added.
Padilla specifically cited the nine-year term of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, “when our economy became strong as there was continuity of the implementation of programs and projects.”
Earlier, officers and members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) promised to convince senators on the need for changes to the economic provisions of the Constitution.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Padilla’s counterpart in the House, said the commitment was made during his recent exchange of views with the PCCI on the constitutional amendment initiative of the House of Representatives.
He said he presented the rationale of the initiative and the planned amendments to the Charter’s “restrictive” economic provisions during the meeting held at PCCI’s request.
“The proposed amendments are aimed at opening the country to more foreign investments. These amendments are data-driven and evidence-based. These will lead to more jobs and income for the Filipino people, and will reduce unemployment,” he stressed.
Rodriguez added that after the presentation, the PCCI “was convinced of the need to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.”
“Their fears were also assuaged when it was made clear that only the economic provisions will be amended,” he said.
He said the House, under the leadership of Speaker Martin G. Romualdez, would ensure that no political amendment proposal would be entertained.
“The PCCI also committed to come out with a statement supporting Charter change. They further committed to speak with senators and voice out their support and try to convince the senators of the need to have these amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution,” he said. With Maricel V. Cruz