MANILA – The proposed Charter change, some lawmakers believe, is not consistent with President Aquino's political agenda.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said it's not unreasonable to suspect that Malacanang supports Charter change.
“Anong policy pinapatupad ni Pnoy na salungat sa Cha-cha resolution sa House?“ he asked.
Colmenares said Aquino’s goal of opening up the economy to foreign investments is the goal of charter change.
“Makikita na hindi salungat sa Malacanang. Otherwise hindi ganito kabilis ang pag-tackle ng House sa Cha-cha,” he said.
“Saan napupunta FOI bill, halos di pa nakakusad? Saan napupunta EPIRA repeal, saan napunta libel bill? Ang House naka-focus sa isang malaking resolution, ang Cha-cha. Not unreasonable na pag-isipan na ang Cha-cha train may basbas ng Malacanang. Gumalaw na ang Cha-cha train, wag bilisan,” he said.
According to Colmenares, nothing is preventing any member of Congress from inserting political amendments when the measure goes to plenary, like lifting term limits.
“It only benefits the administration. Walang salungat sa interes ng Malacanang,” he pointed out.
Former Senator Francisco Tatad, meanwhile, has joined the chorus of Charter change critics who are accusing Malacanang of being behind moves to amend the charter.
In a breakfast forum, Tatad expressed belief that President Aquino may agree to Charter change and extend his term, if the prospects of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas for the presidency do not improve.
Tatad claims the administration will refloat the name of Roxas for the presidency for a year, and if that doesn’t work, the President may consider extending his term.
On Wednesday the Makabayan bloc accused the President of secretly orchestrating Charter change, but House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales came to the defense of the President.
“In fairness to the President, the Makabayan's claim is unfounded and is absolutely false. Right from the start, PNoy had consistently stated that he is not in favor of Cha-cha, even if limited to the economic provisions. The proposed amendments are very noteworthy and we believe that the country needs it as we face our economic future. The Makabayan Bloc has run out of substantial arguments against it and is simply dragging the name of the President to politicize the issue,” he said.
Iloilo Rep. Jerry Trenas agreed in a separate statement: “It’s not fair to drag the President on this issue. It is inaccurate to claim that everything that we do in the House of Representatives has to have the imprimatur of the President. We are an independent and a co-equal branch of government and our actions and decisions are not based on the say-so of the President but on the collective wisdom of the majority,” he said.
“We should leave the president out of this. There’s nothing extra-ordinary on this decision to conduct hearings because all proposals go through this process,” he added.