CHARTER CHANGE

DUTERTE ALLIES IN HOUSE SPLIT OVER CHARTER CHANGE

By ROGER M. BALANZA

Allies of President Rodrigo Duterte under the super-majority coalition in the House of Representatives are split over the proposal to amend the 1987 Constitution.

Wrong timing, said former House Speaker Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, secretary general of the Nacionalista Party.

The House leadership, led by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, is pushing to amend restrictive economic provisions in the Charter.

The Charter Change (Cha-Cha) proposal comes as the nation continues to face the coronavirus pandemic that has brought the country’s economy to its knees.

Velasco said  there is a need for economic changes in the Charter   “to address the various challenges” facing government battles Covid-19.

But Cayetano said it would be wrong timing if there is Cha-Cha while the nation is still recovering from the pandemic.

“Right now, anything that does not help our people deal with the pandemic should be set aside. You may argue that it will just focus on economic provisions so our economy will improve, but there will be debate and divisiveness on other proposals on political provisions. And this will distract us from focusing on vaccination,” Cayetano said.

The House committee on constitutional amendments is set to resume hearings on the Cha-cha proposals this week.

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