MANILA - One of the senior members of the consultative committee on charter change has sought the help of President Rodrigo Duterte in convincing senators to support their output amid doubts cast by the chief executive's economic managers.
Former Senate President Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. said Friday he believes the President's economic managers' reservations about the consultative committee's draft federal constitution was just a knee-jerk reaction.
"I mentioned it to him (Duterte) last night na kung maaari kausapin niya 'yung mga senador. The President said he will talk to Tito," he told ABS-CBN News, referring to Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez last week told senators that he "absolutely" would not approve of the committee's draft federal charter because it did not address important issues about the economy and could not be subjected to financial analysis.
Last month, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia was also quoted in a cable news channel warning of the possible damage the shift to federalism could inflict on the country’s fiscal position.
Pimentel said he hopes the Cabinet officials would give their draft a chance as their issues on the financial aspects can still be expounded once the discussions in the Congress about the matter begin.
"The intention of federalism is not to bankrupt this country. Far from it. But all im saying is if malaysia can do it, why can’t we do it? Are the Malaysians better than we are?" said the founder of Duterte's political party, PDP-Laban.