Charter change not a priority for Marcos

Sen. Robinhood Padilla. Senate PRIB

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Charter change is not his priority because he believes that his administration's economic agenda can be pursued without amending the Constitution.

The President explained his stand on Charter change, or Cha-cha, in an interview aboard the presidential plane on his return trip from a five-day visit to Japan.

“It's not a priority for me because maraming ibang kailangang gawin eh (there are other [important] things to do),” the President said.

“There are so many other things that we need to do first that we can still, we can achieve kung makukuha naman natin 'yung gusto (if we can achieve what we want but within… the way the Constitution is written,” he said.

He said the sentiments for pursuing Charter change stem from the perceived need to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution.

Marcos acknowledged that some economic stipulations in the Constitution such as land ownership could be a “hindrance” in attracting more foreign investments.

Still, he said, pump-priming the economy can be done without revising the Constitution.

Sen. Robinhood Padilla, an advocate of Charter change, said he would work for constitutional amendments “with or without” the support of the President.

Padilla said in a statement on Monday that as a senatorial candidate in UniTeam (in the 2022 national elections), he supports the President's priority legislation.

“That said, I will pursue my own advocacies, with or without the President's support, because that is my obligation to the people — and I will stay the course in the Senate, as part of our democracy,” he said.

“I have heard from past presidents that they are not prioritizing amending the Constitution, particularly its economic provisions,” Padilla said.

“It is sad because if we do not make the needed changes to the Charter's economic provisions, ordinary Filipinos will not feel the benefits of progress for our Motherland, or of improvements in their lot in life,” he said.

The chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments noted that the foreign direct investments that the Philippines “badly need cannot come true without the proper provisions from our Constitution.”

“And most of the pledges by foreign investors from our leaders' foreign trips will not materialize,” Padilla said.

“I repeat: In any country, the basic law is the Constitution. Because of this, I will continue the hearings to update our Constitution. My job in the Senate is to benefit our Motherland and inform our people about what we are doing,” he said.

Charter change, the senator said, “is my obligation to the people — and I will stay the course in the Senate, as part of our democracy.”

“Whether or not my fellow senators support my advocacy, it is important that the people know why our growth as a nation has been held back — and what must be done to address this,” Padilla said.

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