Ex-Speaker tells lawmakers: Focus on COVID-19, not Cha-Cha

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 12 2021 10:46 AM

House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco presides over the special session of the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Oct. 13, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The House of Representatives should concentrate on solving the COVID-19 crisis instead of dabbling in constitutional reforms, former House Speaker and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez said Tuesday.

"I think we need to focus on COVID-19 rather than amending the Constitution," he told ANC's Matters of Fact, adding he doesn't see any economic solution in the proposed charter amendments.

Since the country's first infection was detected in January 2020, it has logged over 489,000 cases, of which more than 9,400 people have died from the disease.

Alvarez also said it was "too late" to amend the Constitution as the general elections is set more than a year from now.

"We really have to overhaul the entire Constitution but it is too late to do that now," he said.

He said politicians would be kept occupied campaigning for the 2022 elections. The last day of filing of the certificates of candidacy is in October.

"Medyo para sa akin hindi maganda 'yong timing (For me, it's not a good timing)," he said.

AKO BICOL party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin had said the lower chamber was set to resume its hearings to tackle the proposed charter change.

The measure seeks to amend Articles II, XIV and XVI, which are provisions in the Constitution that prevent foreign ownership of land and businesses in the country.

The proposed easing of restrictions is also sought on the ownership and management of mass media, public utility, educational institutions, investments and capital to foreign investors.

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