Rodriguez tells House panel to speed up Cha-Cha passage

Published January 15, 2021, 12:58 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Deputy Speaker on Legal Affairs, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez wants the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments to “step on the gas” as far as its economic Charter Change (Cha-Cha) discussions are concerned.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Considering the tight timeline, I call for an early approval of the amendments to these economic provisions by the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by (AKO-Bicol Party-List) Cong Pido Garbin so that this can be sent to the plenary of the House of Representatives,” Rodriguez said on Friday.

The Garbin panel began tackling Resolution of Both Houses 2 (RBH 2), which proposes amendments to certain economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution (particularly on Articles II, XIV and XVI) only last Wednesday.

Rodriguez chaired the Constitutional Amendments panel up until the time that Speaker Lord Allan Velasco designated him as one of his deputy speakers late last year.

“The plenary itself can then convert itself into a Constituent Assembly,” said the Mindanao lawmaker, citing Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution. A Constituent Assembly or Con-Ass is one of the ways that the existing Charter can be revised.

“The Constitution does not require a joint session of Congress; it only requires a three-fourths vote of all members of Congress. Therefore, the House itself can convert itself into a Constituent Assembly and approve, by three-fourths vote of all its members, these amendments to the economic provisions in the Constitution,” Rodriguez said.

“Upon approval of these economic provision amendments, by three-fourths votes of all House members, the proposed amendments will then be sent to the Senate, which can, likewise, constitute itself as a Constituent Assembly and proceed to either approve by three-fourths of its members or reject the proposed amendments,” he added.

Velasco, author of RBH 2, is promoting the renewed Cha-Cha effort as the answer to the COVID-19 pandemic-triggered economic slump. He said the proposed lifting of the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution would lead to more foreign direct investments for the Philippines.

Rodriguez said he fully supports RBH 2.

“These proposed amendments were fully discussed already in the 16th and 17th Congress. All resource persons have already been heard and there is overwhelming support for such amendments,” he said.