Cha-cha will have to wait: Speaker Cayetano

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2020 08:37 AM

Moves to amend the 1987 Constitution will have to wait as there are more pressing matters that need attention from lawmakers, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Thursday. 

Speaking to reporters in Zambales, Cayetano said the Lower House postponed deliberations on Charter change to a later date so that congressmen could tackle other matters such as the coronavirus scare, termination of the visiting forces agreement and the renewal of ABS-CBN's franchise. 

"Pinostpone namin kasi nag-usap-usap po kami, napakaraming kontrobersyal na sabay-sabay. Mahirap po magkaroon ng sober o malamig na ulo ng discussions kung sabay-sabay ‘yung maiinit. Nandiyan ang ABS-CBN, nandiyan po ang VFA, nandiyan po ‘yung usapan sa COVID-19—kung safe na ba o hindi, kung saan pa magba-ban o hindi. Tapos nandiyan pa ho ‘yung, kahapon, sa hearing po sa Kongreso, P100 bilyon daw ang utang ng ibang mga power generators sa ating bansa. Nandiyan din ang usapin sa tubig na hindi pa natatapos," he said. 

Postponing Charter change deliberations, he said, would also give him more time to find out how acceptable Charter change is to congressmen. 

“I want to get things done by consensus. Hindi ako naniniwalang ipe-pressure mo ‘yung isang tao, ‘yung isang chamber, maipapasa ‘yan, kasi iba ngayon e. Style ng mga bata ngayon, mga bata ngayon, ‘pag pinressure mo, lalong ayaw, e. So, kung mape-persuade naman natin, rather than mape-pressure natin, mas mabuti," he said. 

Last Wednesday, House Committee on Constitutional Amendments Chair Rufus Rodriguez said his committee is still finishing the final draft of the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution. 

The committee met Wednesday morning but failed to vote on the draft that will be submitted to the House for debates. 

"Everyone would like to have their own position and we cannot stop our own members from expressing their views on each and every section amendments that the Interagency Task Force on Constitutional Reform has given. We don't want to rush this because precisely haste makes waste. What you will do is try to really have them discuss all the provisions that are proposed by the IATF,” Rodriguez said. 

The congressman said he hopes the committee can vote next week.