MANILA -- Chief Presidential Legal Adviser and former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is backing Sen. Robin Padilla's proposal to relax the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
Enrile, 99, attended the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes hearing on proposals to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution upon Padilla's invite.
Padilla, who chairs the committee, said he invited Enrile who is considered a "legal luminary."
“This will be a historical meeting and discussion with the presence of a former Senate President who will be sharing his personal experience, knowledge and wisdom to the committee,” he said.
For his part, Enrile said Padilla's direction is the "right thing."
"I read some of the drafts and proposals that you want to do... and if I were in this House I would have supported you 101 percent because those are the most important things that must be done to make this country progressive and modernized," he said.
Enrile's position is in contrast with Padilla's colleagues, who said that Charter change would be difficult to pass in the Senate.
Enrile agreed that"restrictive" economic provisions of the Charter are hindering the country's growth.
"First of all the economic provisions are antiquated, we do not have the capital to develop this country to improve the lives of a great majority of the people. We can develop this country only if we relax the restrictive economic provisions of the Constitution," he said.
"There's nothing esoteric or unusual in these amendments," he added.
The former Senate leader also cautioned Congress on the mode of amending the Constitution.
"Now I know that Congress has passed a proposed constitutional convention to do the job that you're doing. I would also caution them, caution you, because to do a con-con instead of a con-ass will be a disservice to the people of this country," he warned.
In the same hearing, Enrile said the country must now do away with its ban on nuclear weapons, blaming the "Cory government" for the "most unwanted provision" in the Constitution.
Article II Section 8 of the Constitution forbids the presence of nuclear weapons in the Philippines, stating that "the Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory."
"We must now remove the restriction imposed by the Cory administration on this country and her people not to have any nuclear in the country. I think in my personal opinion that is the most serious and unwanted provision in the Constitution," he said.
"In the modern world today a small country can protect itself against the superpowers if they have nuclear weapons... If we can afford it we should also have nuclear weapons so our people will not be trampled upon let alone made a tuta or alipin of other countries," Enrile added.
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