'No Cha-cha even for bets' criteria'

by Aurea Calica, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 23 2014 12:03 PM | Updated as of Mar 23 2014 08:03 PM

MANILA - Malacañang is still not open to Charter change even if it is only to modify the requirements for those running for president to ban “idiots” or to prohibit political dynasties.

“I have not gotten... the President’s thoughts on that particular provision but, at least for the time being, (Cha-cha) is really not a priority,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said over radio dzRB yesterday.

She added that it would be best to wait for the bills on political dynasties to move forward.

The President is not keen on proposals to amend the Constitution even if limited to the economic provisions, noting that other countries’ economies – like China’s – managed to grow without allowing foreign ownership of properties.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said she will consider Charter change if the amendments will focus on the educational qualifications of those running for national office.

“Right now in our statute books, people who apply to become policemen must be at least college graduates. There is no such provision for a presidential candidate so any idiot can run for president and possibly pull a certain number of votes among his fellow idiots, so we should make it of record that the Constitution should require the candidate – at least a candidate for national office such as president, vice president, senator – to be at least a college graduate,” she told reporters the other day.

Santiago also cited Supreme Court rulings that once Congress decides to open the Charter for amendments, it could not limit what a constitutional convention or constituent assembly could do.

“Once you decide to change the Constitution, you cannot, by law, limit the change or amendment of the Constitution to just for a particular point,” she said.

On proposals to loosen up foreign investments in the country, the senator said other countries achieved industrialization without allowing foreigners to control corporations or to buy land in the country. – With Marvin Sy