Duterte not talking to Cabinet about charter change, claims Nograles

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2020 10:53 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte meets with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on July 15, 2020. Simeon Celi, Presidential Photo/File

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte is not talking to his Cabinet about charter change, an aide said Thursday, after several officials criticized a supposed push to amend the constitution despite the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Wala namang binabanggit si Pangulo regarding charter change. It's not something that he's talked about or spoken to anyone of us about," said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. 

(The President has mentioned nothing regarding charter change.) 

The interior department said over the weekend that 1,488 municipal mayors expressed support for 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.

Watch more in iWant or TFC.tv

Local governments are "stakeholders" of the interior department, Nograles told ANC. 

"If the local governments have some concerns or issues or mayroon silang hinihingi sa (they are asking something from the) DILG, then DILG necessarily has to process whatever request or recommendation that their stakeholders have," he said. 
 
However, the proposed charter change is "within the realm really of Congress," said Nograles. 

Amending the Constitution is "not listed" among the Senate's priorities, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday, a day after the House of Representatives said it would begin charter change discussions when session resumes next week.

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