Constitutional adventurism

Published December 19, 2019, 12:28 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Erik Espina
Erik Espina

The reaction of Senator friends on this issue is, at best, described as lukewarm. They are not in the mood to indulge the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, on “raw proposals” in what will be a circuitous and litigious process.

1). Adding “unless otherwise provided by law” in lifting constitutional prohibitions on foreign investors share-percentages in corporate managements. This could ease entry of foreign investments into sheltered sectors dominated by Filipinos, including public and agricultural lands, education, etc. In effect, the leverage of compromise and lobby in Congress may affect certain sensitive sectors originally protected by the Constitution. Entrusting to legislators endangerment of our national patrimony, resources, etc. plus property prices sky-rocketing to the detriment of the average Filipino?

2). Election of president and VP as a team. A vote for the President is a vote for both. This hand-cuffs the people’s choices to either a winning tandem from the same political party or purposively elect un-allied individuals.

3). Terms of LGU officials and Congressmen increased to five years. While three years is indeed too short for incumbency, the better proposal is to revert to the tried and tested four years with three allowable terms, or a total of 12 years. This will synchronize with the senator’s six year-term with one re-election, or 12 years.

4). Reducing the number of regions to nine. The Cebuano-speaking majority in the Central Visayas (Cebu with a population expected to hit 3 million was removed from the proposed amendment. Clearly a serious error in judgement.

5). Cutting the term of senators from 6 to 5 years and increasing their number from 24 to 27, with three elected per region. This will entail additional cost and diminution of the office. If the intention is fairness and equalizing representation, propose a Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao Senate, eight members from each, with mandatory residence in the region but elected at large. This maintains the present Senate membership of 24.