By Billy Begas
National Unity Party president and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte underscored on Sunday the importance of keeping the ball rolling on the proposal to amend the 1987 Constitution.
“Right now, it’s beside the point whether the Senate considers improving our Constitution by way of a Con-Con (Constitutional Convention) or Con-Ass (Constituent Assembly),” Villafuerte said.
Villafuerte added, “What is important at this stage is for the Senate to consider amendments to our flawed Constitution, so the 19th Congress can come up with a consolidated measure green-lighting a Charter makeover at the soonest time possible.”
“The important thing is for us lawmakers to keep the ball rolling on constitutional reforms, in the hope that we can do away soon enough with the restrictive economic provisions of our 36-year-old Charter that have put off investors and impeded the inrush of FDIs (foreign direct investments),” Villafuerte pointed out.
The NUP leader also appealed to senators to give Charter Change a chance and to attend to it “with a similar sense of urgency, out of consideration for its supermajority support in the House of Representatives, and given the fact that a majority of them were once members of this bigger chamber.”
Earlier, Senate Constitutional Amendments committee chairperson Sen. Robinhood Padilla said his panel is close to wrapping up its discussion on the proposal to amend the Constitution.
Padilla’s committee is set to hold two more hearings this week, including one where Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, has been invited to discuss Resolution of Both Houses 6 and House Bill 7352.
RBH 6 calls for the convening of the delegates while HB 7352 will be the measure to implement it. Both measures have been approved by the House of Representatives on third and final reading.
However, Padilla said he might end up supporting Con-Ass instead of the House-backed Con-Con if only to keep the process going and gain support from the senators.
In the Con-Con proposal elected and appointed delegates will be tasked to propose the amendments, while in Con-Ass senators and congressmen will be the ones to propose the changes in the Constitution.