'Waste of time': Drilon says minority senators to block charter change push

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 07 2021 01:08 PM

MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday said the Senate minority bloc would oppose any move to change the constitution while the COVID-19 pandemic persists.

Amending the constitution during the COVID-19 pandemic is an "exercise in futility" and a "waste of time" as it would unlikely get the approval of Congress, Drilon said in a statement.

"It is a sin to be even talking about changing the Constitution when there is still no end in sight to the pandemic, when the government is struggling to secure funding for COVID-19 vaccines, and when the country is still reeling from the continuing impact of the pandemic and the recent typhoons,” he said.

"Instead of talking about Cha-cha, let’s talk about how we can bring down inflation and let’s talk about how we can bring back lost jobs and livelihood opportunities," he said.

In December, Senators Ronald Dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino, both close administration allies, filed a resolution seeking to convene both chambers of Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution, citing "mounting economic and health concerns brought about by the pandemic."

It would be better for the Senate to first discuss the measure in a caucus, opposition Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said in a separate statement.

"Among the issues that can be discussed in the caucus would be the timing of charter amendments considering that the country is facing the worst economic and health crisis in recent memory," Pangilinan said.

"Ngayon ba ang tamang panahon para pagusapan ito?" he asked.

(Is this the right time to talk about this?)

Drilon said Dela Rosa and Tolentino's measure "won't fly" in the Senate.

"It will be a total waste of time," Drilon said.

"Our history tells us that Cha-cha has a zero chance of success in any administration that is already in the home stretch," he said.

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