MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte will not railroad Charter change (Cha-cha) and has vowed to give lawmakers ample time to ponder on its proposed revisions, MalacaAang said Monday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. made this statement to belie claims of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon that there was a plot by congressmen to railroad Cha-cha.
Drilon claimed that some congressmen wanted to postpone the May 2018 barangay (village) elections and hold it on a later date simultaneously with the plebiscite on proposed amendments.
I would say that Senator Drilon is off tangent because there will be a lot more discussion ahead of us for Charter change. Meaning, it is not the President's purpose to railroad it knowing how important it is revising no less than the fundamental law of the land, Roque said in a Palace briefing.
The people will be given ample time and opportunity to debate and ponder on the proposed revisions whatever they may be, he added.
Roque, however, noted that Duterte wanted the Congress to wait until the Consultative Committee's (Con-Com) is done with its review of the 1987 Constitution and submits its draft constitution.
Duterte earlier signed Executive Order No. 10 creating a 25-member committee, led by former Supreme Court chief justice Reynato Puno, tasked to review the 1987 Constitution.
He (Duterte) would prefer that Congress await the outcome of the work product of the Constitutional Commission (referring to the Consultative Committee) before it is tackled in Congress, Roque said.
Roque pointed out that the Chief Executive is hands off on the timetable for the plebiscite on proposed amendments since it was the task of the Congress, after all.
I think the timetable is they want it already. From the leadership, that is the lower house, has revised the timetable it might be in time for the 2019 elections but it's something the Congress must decide not the executive, Roque said.
Roque, citing Senate President Aquilino Koko Pimentel III, also assured that barangay elections will push through.
Last Friday, I was in one forum together with Senate President Pimentel and he declared to an audience of about 4,000 members of the Liga ng Barangay of Leyte that barangay elections would push through, Roque said.
He said that while there is a pending bill in the House of Representatives filed by Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel to suspend anew the barangay elections, the Senate President said that there was no support in the Senate for another postponement.
As far as Congress is concerned, barangay elections will push through. This would belie already the statement of Senator Drilon, Roque said.
Source: Philippine News Agency