Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Friday urged the Senate to tackle the House resolution seeking amendments in the Constitution’s “restrictive” economic provisions.
“We want to resolve this issue on Charter change (Cha-cha) during our first regular session or in the early part of our second regular session, if possible. If we delay it, we will be overtaken by the 2025 election campaign season, and people would again suspect our constitutional reform push of being politically motivated,” he said.
Rodriguez, who chairs the House committee on constitutional amendments, made the appeal a day after attending the forum sponsored by the Philippine Chamber of commerce and Industry (PCCI) on efforts in Congress to introduce changes in the charter.
To recall, the House of Representatives had transmitted Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 (RBH 2) and its implementing Bill No. 7352 before Congress went into recess in March.
According to the lawmaker from Mindanao, the previous constitutional amendment efforts failed because they were undertaken when a sitting administration or Congress was about to finish its term.
“We should avoid that so that our initiative could succeed this time. As it is, we are fast running out of time,” Rodriguez said.
RBH 2 seeks to convene a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the basic law, while Bill 7352 aims to implement the said resolution.
In his speech before PCCI members, Rodriguez said the current charter amendment push in the Lower House is focused on tweaking the language of the Constitution’s economic provisions to give Congress flexibility in changing foreign investment or ownership restrictions.
Though Congress recently introduced liberalization amendments in some laws like the Public Service Act and Foreign Investment Act, those changes did not alter constitutional limitations, Rodriguez said.
“We should consider that the Constitution is the fundamental law of the land. Unless and until the constitutional restrictions are removed, the apprehensions and hesitancy on the part of foreign investors will always remain,” he said.
The PCCI earlier expressed support for rewriting the charter’s economic provisions.
Rodriguez is attending another constitutional reform forum at the Ateneo de Davao College of Law on May 24. (PNA)
Photo credit: House of Representatives Official Website