The House of Representatives had enacted Constitutional change in final reading calling for a Con-Con or a Constitutional Convention supposedly for amendment of the restrictive and oppressive economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
On its part, the Senate appears lukewarm about Constitutional change, claiming it’s not their priority, following the line of President Marcos Jr. that Cha-Cha is not a priority of the administration.
Both the hesitance of the President and the Senate President Migz Zubiri to Cha-cha remains, Santa Banana, the biggest challenge to Charter change!
However, my gulay, Senator Robin Padilla, who is committed and dedicated to Constitutional change, has a formula to resolve the changes of Cha-Cha.
Through Padilla’s Resolution 3 that he filed, Padilla, who topped the Senate slate during the 2022 polls, limits charter change to only seven economic provisions and added the amendments to the phrase “unless otherwise provided for by law or thereto.”
Through Resolution 3, Padilla proposed both Houses of Congress limit only charter change to seven economic provisions of the Constitution and calls for Con-Ass or Constituent Assembly of Congress, and with stroke of the pen, all the fears of monkeying with political provisions of the charter, especially term limits of elected officials, will no longer be included.
This means only the economic provisions will be amended, which I believe, my gulay, will give permanence to lifting the restrictive and oppressive provisions of the charter!
For one thing, a Con-Ass can be easily called and the government will not spend a centavo, unlike in a Con-Con, which is estimated to cost the government more than P10 billion.
And above everything else, Padilla’s Resolution meets all the challenges against charter change, Santa Banana!
That’s why I have been commending and praising Padilla, not only for this dedication and commitment for charter change, but for his practical solutions to changes.
Amending the economic provisions of the Constitution via Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) will assure the people (and the Senate) that political provisions, such as extending the term of elected officials or shifting to a unicameral/federal/parliamentary system, will not be included/inserted/in the proposed amendments.
Since the proposed amendments are limited only to the seven economic provisions, and there will be no joint session of the two Houses of Congress and they will vote separately, there will be no way or chance to insert and include other amendments — unless, Santa Banana, the Senate itself is willing to include political provisions!
It is worth noting that during the 18th Congress (2019-2022), the House of Representatives passed Resolution of Both Houses 2.
This Resolution is almost identical to the Resolution of Sen. Padilla. It also sought to amend only the economic provisions of the Constitution via Con-Ass and not Con-Con. This was passed by the House of Representatives without conducting a joint session with the Senate — though the Senate did not act upon it when it was brought to it.
The greatest challenge to charter change, however, is the Senate itself,with Senate President Migz Zubiri stating insofar as the Senate itself is concerned, Cha-Cha is not a priority, in which case Padilla must muster 18 of his colleagues to side with him.
Since the Senate is not part of the executive branch, Padilla cannot seek the support of the President. BBM himself stated that Cha-Cha is not a priority of the administration.
Another problem with charter change, as I see it, is that the House has enacted the bill seeking charter change with a hybrid Con-Con (Constitutional Convention), while Padilla’s bill is for a Con-Ass or Constituent Assembly to enact the Cha-Cha with both the House and the Senate voting separately.
Whether or not there will be charter change only on the economic provisions remains a big question.
While I personally admire Sen. Padilla, a neophyte senator, his goal to push for charter change even only on the economic provisions remains in limbo.
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Political violence is nothing new in the Philippines even during non-elections.
The discovery by the Philippine National Police of Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr.’s five houses, including a resort, is not at all surprising.
In fact, I would even say most politicians, especially those belonging to political dynasties, even have much more.
That most politicians even have “queridas” or mistresses on the side is also not surprising.
In fact, having show of wealth and having mistresses and common law wives are part and parcel in the lives of most politicians, as a sign of being “macho.”
To me, this is no longer strange since it would seem that having many houses, caches of firearms and several wives are all parts of life for most politicians who get elected every time.
Their constituents in fact expect them to be rich, no matter how they acquired their wealth, legitimately or otherwise.
It’s actually a vicious cycle why there is so much graft and corruption in the country.
People strangely admire politicians having several houses, caches of firearms and even common law wives and mistresses.
In Abra, where I was born and spent my youth,there was even a “Don” politician who had a mistress living in the same house where he and his wife lived.
That’s why I say political violence will not end with the ambuscades and the killing of a governor.
Strange, but to me it’s all part of our political milieu.
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Before he died, Roberto “Bobby” Ongpin always wanted his two daughters to be connected with him in his Alphaland Corporation.
While his elder daughter Anna Bettina Ongpin is the Vice-Chairman of Alphaland Corporation, his younger daughter Michelle Ongpin-Callaghan is a Director of Alphaland.
Michelle Ongpin Callaghan is the President of Tabacalera Inc., the oldest tobacco enterprise in the Philippines that specializes in premium brand tobacco.
Concurrent with this, Michelle is also a Director of the Board and Treasurer of Ugat ng Kalusugan, a reproductive health NGO based in Palawan.
Michelle was educated abroad, received her M.A. Communication Sciences with Minors in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Vienna.
She has a postgraduate degree in International Studies from the Diplomatic Academy Vienna.
Fluent in German, English, French and Italian, she is also starting to learn Mandarin.