VP Robredo on charter change: Not now, please

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 20 2020 12:18 PM | Updated as of Jul 20 2020 02:03 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo delivers a speech, Jan. 6, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File 

MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo is urging government officials to refrain from pushing for charter change during the coronavirus pandemic, which she said needed an "all hands on deck" approach. 

Constitutional reforms in support of President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to amend the charter will need a referendum. Funds for this should instead go to testing kits and hospitals whose resources are slowly being depleted by the virus, said Robredo.

"Ang dami nating pinagkakaabalahan—Anti-Terror [Law], pagpasara ng ABS-CBN—na hindi naman ito iyong sumasagot sa pagpahinto ng COVID... Parati ko itong sinasabi: all hands on deck—sana ang tinitingnan natin iyong COVID -19," she said in her weekly radio show. 

(We are busy with so many things—the Anti-Terror Law, closing down ABS-CBN—that are not the answers to stopping COVID. I always say this: it should be all hands on deck—we should be looking at COVID-19.) 

"Kung gustong pag-usapan iyong charter change, eh ‘di pag-usapan—pero huwag naman sana sa panahon ngayon," added the Vice President. 

(If they want to talk about charter change, then talk about it—but I hope not at this time. Not now, please.) 

The interior department said over the weekend that 1,488 municipal mayors support 2 constitutional reforms, namely:

- the lifting of foreign restrictions in industries limited to Filipinos; 
- and sourcing internal revenue allotments (IRA) for local governments from all national taxes, and not only those collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. 

"Nothing in the proposal... seeks to do away with the 2022 elections," said Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, administrator of his agency's Federalism and Constitutional Reform program.