No matter how many laws facilitating the entry of foreign investments to the Philippines have been passed, they might all face obstacles if the corresponding economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution are not amended, Senator Robinhood "Robin" Padilla said Saturday, Feb. 18.
Padilla, chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, said foreign investors might even hold back if they see the constitutionality of such laws being challenged before the Supreme Court (SC).
"Napakaganda ng batas na ginawa nila pero hanggang itong mga batas na ito sumasalubong at sumasalpok sa ating Constitution, lagi itong questionable. Yan ba pwede nating ibenta sa ating mga foreign investor? Papaano natin makumbinsi ang foreign investor kung ang kanilang pera ay mapupunta sa question dahil pong ito ba ay pinapayagan ng Constitution o hindi (We have passed very good laws for foreign investments but so long as they are perceived to go against the Constitution, they will be questionable. Thus, can we attract foreign investments? How can we convince foreign investors their funds will not go to waste if the investment laws are questioned before the court)?" he said in an interview on DWIZ radio.
"Ang pagbukas sa foreign direct investment (FDI), para magkaroon ng bigat, magkaroon ng tunay na ngipin, ang ginagawa nilang batas patungkol sa ekonomiya. Hanggang hindi natin inaamyendahan ang economic provision ng 1987 Constitution hindi magkakaroon ng liwanag, laging babagsak tayo sa SC, laging magkakaroon ng kababayang kokontra diyan sapagka’t karapatan ng bawat Pilipino ipaglaban kung ano ang sabi ng Constitution (If we want to give teeth to our laws allowing FDI, we need to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution. Otherwise, we will always find ourselves before the Supreme Court when groups question the constitutionality of our investment laws)," he added.
Earlier, Padilla filed Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 3 that aims to amend the Constitution's economic provisions through a constituent assembly.
The resolution aims to amend economic provisions to encourage FDIs.
Padilla noted that under the Constitution, any Filipino can question any law and challenge its constitutionality.
"Hanggang di natin nirerebisa o inaamyendahan ang ating Constitution patungkol sa economic provision, lagi po yan magkakaroon ng tanong katulad ng nangyari nitong huli - meron sana tayong joint exploration kasama ang China at Vietnam ano nangyari diyan, dinesisyunan ng SC na unconstitutional (Until we revise or amend our Constitution's economic provisions, there will always be questions. For example, we could have had joint exploration with China and Vietnam but the Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional)," he said.
”Lahat na batas na gagawin nyo na kokontra sa Constitution, walang mangyayari diyan kundi kokontrahin o maupupunta sa mercy ng Supreme Court (All laws will always be questioned before the Supreme Court if they are perceived to go against the Constitution)," he added.
Also, Padilla said that while the Philippines continues to participate in international trade agreements, Filipinos cannot feel the effects of such participation if there are no investments.
"Magkapatid talaga ang investment at trade. Hindi pupuwedeng puro trade walang investment.(Investment and trade are like brethren. You cannot have trade without investments). Isipin niyo sama tayo ng sama sa trade agreement. Basta trade agreement sumasama tayo diyan. Hindi naman bukas ang ating ekonomiya sa investment, one-way yan. At sumang-ayon naman ang executive sa sinasabi ko, na talagang hindi pwedeng puro trade walang investment, one-way yan (Think about it, we continue to join international trade agreements but our economy is restrictive to investments. Even the executive department has agreed with my observation that we cannot have trade without investments)," he said.
Meanwhile, Padilla said he plans to have one or two public consultations before presenting the committee report to the plenary.