Dela Rosa, Tolentino seek charter amendment on 'democratic representation'

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
Dela Rosa, Tolentino seek charter amendment on 'democratic representation'
Senators Dela Rosa and Tolentino are seen in talks in this undated file photo inside the Senate chamber
Senate PRIB / Joseph Vidal

MANILA, Philippines — Two pro-administration senators are seeking changes to the 1987 Constitution on "democratic representation" apart from economic provisions of the charter, a resolution filed in the chamber showed.

Senators Bato dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino called on Congress to convene as a constituent assembly, one of the means to amend the charter apart from a constitutional convention or by people's initiative. 

It was not clear from the December 7 resolution on what particular amendments the two are proposing, but said changes are needed to respond to "mounting economic and health concerns" due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

"The interest of the Filipino people will be served by introducing meaningful reforms reinforcing not only economic growth and development but also more pragmatic democratic representation," the resolution read. 

The move comes as the country slowly recovers from economic losses brought by the months-long hard lockdown last year, as well as continuing to grapple with the virus and being on the lookout for its new and more infectious variant.

An initiative led by the interior department had also sought to urge the two chambers for charter change in May 2020, but was shot down as lawmakers tackled coronavirus-related legislations.

In Congress, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has directed too for talks on amending the constitution to begin when the chamber resumes session, despite saying months ago that there would no longer be time for it.

His proposed amendments include giving the legislature the power to lift several economic restrictions such as limitations on foreign investments. 

And while such did not include term extensions, which had long raised the eyebrows of many, Velasco has showed support for extending officials' stint in office.

Duterte holds a supermajority in the House, while in the Senate, the minority has since been reduced to only four after no opposition candidate won enough votes in the midterm elections.

In the last bid to amend the charter, Malacañang said such was not a priority of the administration. 

But with new leadership in the House and funding for recovery projects already in place this 2021, it remains a question if it would change tune. 

One of Duterte's campaign promises was a shift to a federal type of government which would require amendments to the constitution. 

It has, however, failed to gain traction over the course of his term, with only 16 months until the next elections in 2022 where the president is also bound to step down. — with reports from Xave Gregorio

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: March 21, 2023 - 1:35pm

The consultative committee, tasked with drafting a new constitution, eyes the removal of the impeachment power of Congress over justices of the Constitutional Court, one of the proposed three Supreme Courts under the draft charter.

READ: Concom eyes 3 supreme courts

Concom proposes that the impeachment of justices in Constitutional Court be decided instead by the 15-member Supreme Court.

The proposed Constitutional Court will have a presiding justice appointed by the Supreme Court and six associate justices with two appointees each from three branches of government.

LIST: Controversial features of proposed federal charter by House sub-committee

— with Edu Punay

March 21, 2023 - 1:35pm

The faction of PDP-Laban chaired by former President Rodrigo Duterte has agreed in a meeting earlier today to support Charter change, says Melvin Matibag, the party's secretary-general

— Philstar.com/Xave Gregorio

March 14, 2023 - 5:03pm

The House of Representatives votes 301-7 to pass on final reading House Bill 7352 or the proposed Constitutional Convention Act to amend the 1987 Constitution. — Cristina Chi

March 7, 2023 - 7:02pm

The House of Representatives approves on second reading House Bill 7352 or the act implementing Resolution of Both Houses No. 6, calling for a constitutional convention to propose amendments to, or revision of, the 1987 Philippine Constitution. — The STAR

March 6, 2023 - 4:58pm

With a vote of 301-6 and one abstain, the House of Representatives approves on third and final reading Resolution of Both Houses 6 calling for a constitutional convention. — Cristina Chi

January 9, 2022 - 12:03pm
Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr., an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, is proposing longer terms of office for the President, members of the House of the Representatives, governors, mayors, and other provincial, city and town officials. His proposal is contained in Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 7, which he filed with the House on Friday, Jan. 7.
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