Sotto proposes Cha-cha plebiscite in 2022

Published January 13, 2021, 7:22 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

To allay doubts on the proposed Charter change (Cha-cha), the plebiscite on the “one-liner” amendments to the Constitution’s economic provisions be held at the same time as the 2022 elections, Senate President Vicente Sotto III suggested on Wednesday.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III

“That dispels all the other issues, na aalisin ang term limits, mag-eextend ng term ang officials (that term limits will be removed, that officials will extend their terms). Tanggal na lahat ng issues na ‘yon kasi sa 2022 elections ikakarga kung gusto nilang pumayag na idagdag itong one-liner sa Constitution (Those issues are all addressed when we carry in the 2022 elections the question on if they agree to include this one-liner amendment in the Constitution),” Sotto said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay.

The Senate leader referred to the proposed insertion of the phrase “as may be provided by law”, to give Congress the “free hand” to amend the so-called restrictive provisions of the Constitution on mass media, foreign ownership, trade and other economic concerns.

“Sa economic provisions, kung isasama lang natin ‘yong one liner na ‘yon (If we just include in the Constitution that one-liner amendment)…then it can be addressed by Congress thereafter in the 19th Congress, or 20th Congress probably,” he said.

“‘Yon ang pinakapwedeng gawin, sa tingin ko, na kaya. Pag iyon ang gagawin, malaki ang pag-asa (I think that would be the most possible way that we can pursue this. If we do that, there is a huge chance that we can approve the amendment,
Sotto admitted that talks of Cha-cha could face rough-sailing due to apprehensions of people over its intent.

“There is difficulty right now because of the pandemic, marami sa mga kababayan natin, even politicians, are wary about discussing it because of the issues concerned,” he said.

He maintaining that “there is no time” to pass an extensive Cha-cha within the last two years of the Duterte administration.

“If you’re talking about a charter amendment, may pag-asa (there is hope),” he said.

The House of Representatives’ constitutional amendment’s committee has been discussing their proposed “economic Cha-cha”.