Cha-cha hearings to resume Monday; House panel chair eyes economic amendments

The House of Representatives will resume its discussions on Monday morning, Feb. 6 on measures seeking to revise the 1987 Constitution in the current 19th Congress.

The huge Philippine flag inside the House plenary (PPAB)

Like the previous public hearing, the Charter Change or Cha-cha talks will be led by the Committee on Constitutional Amendments, which is chaired by Cagayan de Oro 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

But this time, the House panel hearing will have a clear direction, since Rodriguez had already said that they would push for amendments to the economic provisions of the over 35-year-old Charter.

The Mindanaon has said that doing so would "open our country to more foreign investments in order to create more jobs"

"This will likewise support President Bongbong Marcos' initiatives in meeting businessmen in different foreign countries to invite them to invest in the Philippines," he said in a recent Facebook post.

According to the legal luminary, the Philippine Constitution limits foreign investments in public utilities, development of natural resources, and education to only 40 percent; advertising to only 30 percent; mass media at 0 percent; and land at 0 percent.

"These Constitutional prohibitions have limited the entry of foreign investments into the country. These investments have gone instead to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam leaving the Philippines behind," Rodriguez claimed.

Cagayan de Oro 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez

Various legal experts took part in the initial hearing of the Rodriguez panel on Cha-cha last Jan. 26.




Among them were former Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza; Raul Lambino, a member of the 2005 Consultative Commission; Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) Vice President for Luzon, Dionisio Donato Garciano; former Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Neri Colmemares; and Christian Monsod, a framer of the 1987 Constitution.

These experts laid out their opinions on the solons' attempts to amend the Constitution--a recurring exercise the past few years. Their opinions were split, suffice it to say.

Monday's panel discussion will begin at 9:30 a.m.