'Not really in favor': Cha-cha's fate in Senate gets dimmer

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2023 09:47 PM

MANILA -- The fate of the proposed charter change via Constitutional Convention (ConCon), which is aggressively being pushed by congressmen, gets dimmer in the eyes of the Senate.

Senate sources said that majority of the 20 senators who attended the all-party caucus called by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri have already registered their strong opposition against any move to amend the 1987 Constitution.

The House of Representatives swiftly passed the resolution of Both Houses Number 6 which seeks to amend the Constitution via ConCon, in contrast the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of codes chairman, Senator Robin Padilla’s pro-Constituent Assembly position.

On ANC’s “Headstart," Padilla disclosed that majority of his colleagues are “not open” to Cha-cha, which was immediately confirmed by Senator JV Ejercito.

“Yes, majority not really in favor,” Ejercito said in a text statement.

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros meanwhile said that the “passionate” meeting among senators that transpired Monday night ended with a unified stand from majority of senators – they will not support Cha-cha.

“Solid po ang Senado sa pagpapahalaga sa papel ng institusyon bilang bahagi ng separate co-equal branches na form of government natin at pinapahalagahan namin ang tradisyon at kasaysayan ng maya't mayang pagtindig talaga sa aming independence bilang institusyon at aming papel na ginagampanan sa isang demokrasya kahit hirap ang demokrasya natin, contested, sabi ni Nathan Quimpo,” Hontiveros told journalists in a news briefing, Tuesday.

“In any constitutional reform process, kahit ano mang scenario na pwedeng mag-emerge, ang mahalaga sa amin ay continuity at stability noong current institutional set-up kung saan in all humility ,sa tingin po namin, ay mayroon pa ring ginagampanang mahalagang papel ang Senado,” she added.

Zubiri did not reply to media queries regarding Padilla’s pronouncements, as well as on the outcome of his called all-party caucus.

The only statement that the Senate leader released was about his attendance in the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum, along with House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

““This is a great start for the President’s administration, to show that the Philippines is once again open to the international community, in this period of post-pandemic recovery,” part of Zubiri in his speech, said. 

Meantime, political party PDP-Laban held its “National Officers’ Meeting” to discuss charter change.

The party’s four senators, namely Padilla, Francis Tolentino, Ronald dela Rosa and Christopher Go along with a number of congressmen and other officers attended, according to Secretary General Melvin Matibag.

Party Chairman former president Rodrigo Duterte did not attend, Matibag said.

“We reached a consensus that PDP will come out we the resolution supporting Charter Change… We agreed already we will announce it after PRRD (Duterte) signed the resolution,” Matibag said.

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