MANILA — Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday questioned the House of Representatives' supposed rush to amend the 1987 Constitution, reiterating that charter change is not a priority of the Marcos administration.
A House super majority on Tuesday voted in favor of a House resolution calling for a constitutional convention (con-con) that would propose amendments to the charter's economic provisions.
"I don’t understand why our dear colleagues in the House would like to rush this when in all honesty we passed the economic measures in the 18th Congress," he told ANC's "Headstart".
Zubiri said the 3 economic measures—Public Services Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Foreign Investments Act—already addressed the "restrictive" economic provisions in the Constitution.
For example, under the amended Public Service Act, full foreign ownership of public services, such as telecommunications, airlines and railways, is allowed, he said.
He also noted that foreign investors are not concerned over the constitution but are instead looking at ease of doing business in the Philippines.
NO NUMBERS TO PUSH CHA-CHA
Zubiri also expressed doubt that charter change would hurdle the upper house, saying only 4 to 5 senators support it.
"We need 18 votes to dance the Cha-cha. I don’t think we have 18 votes to dance the Cha-cha," he said.
"Wala po kaming numero na ganiyan (we don't have that number). For us, it’s moot and academic."
The Senate President instead urged lawmakers to focus on solving inflation, poverty and unemployment.
"What is important is let us address post-pandemic issues, which is economic recovery, bringing down inflation and making the lives of our people easier," he said.
In the interview, Zubiri also raised concern that political amendments would be introduced should the proposed hybrid constitutional convention push through.
The members of Con-con, who will be elected by the public, will draft the changes to the 1987 Constitution.
"Once the con-con is set up, they will not be limited to just economic provisions. Puwede nilang repasuhin ang (they can revise) Article 1 to the last article of the constitution," he said.
This could include removing the term limits of public office, changing the structure of government, and abolishing the Senate, he added.
"I know what’s being discussed even if we’re not invited. I know what's going on with my friends in the lower house. Ang akin lang diyan, let’s go slow, hinay-hinay," Zubiri said.