PNoy: Justify first why Cha-Cha is needed

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Jan 27 2013 03:38 PM | Updated as of Jan 28 2013 03:42 AM

MANILA, Philippines -- President Benigno Aquino III said changes to the Constitution should be justified first before he agrees to push for it.

Aquino seems to remain lukewarm to such kind of proposals, the same stance he has shown since he first stepped into office.

“Bago natin gawin, pakita naman ‘yung, parang may concrete na ebidensya na makakatulong sa bansa natin,” he told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, based on transcripts made available on Sunday.

Foreign investors earlier pushed for a charter change (Cha-Cha) in order that the Philippines can qualify for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, a free-trade agreement currently being negotiated by nine countries: The United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan also made the same push, saying country's foreign ownership rules need to be updated if government really wants to attract more foreign direct investment.

Aquino is not swayed, however, noting that the Philippines has not even been invited to join the TPP.

“Kapag inimbita tayo, may certain qualifications na kailangan gawin baka—I'm not saying na tama 'yung sinasabi nitong ng mga businessmen na ito, but napakalayo pa ng prosesong 'yun,” he said.

He also noted that changing the Constitution should be for the sake of Filipinos. “Yung Constitution natin, parang importante yata i-serve ‘yung interes natin, manigurado muna tayo (na) naseserve ‘yung interes natin bago ‘yung interes ng mga hindi natin kababayan,” Aquino said.

Cha-Cha began to reverberate anew when Aquino stepped in as President. Chief Justice Reynato Puno and Catholic Bishops then said the ushering of a new administration was the perfect time for amendments to the Constitution, especially on the economic provisions.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. even formed a committee to study the matter.

Asked if he has already read or analyzed their suggestions, Aquino said: “Baka hindi ko nadaanan pa. Pero I'm waiting for, 'yung may analysis nga.”