Santiago dashes cold water on Cha-cha movers

October 11, 2011 10:58 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 11 – Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has refuted the explanation of his colleagues that now is the time to amend the economic provision of the Constitution to lure more foreign investors in the country.

”I am sorry to dash cold water on all those fervent hopes about inviting foreign investments, but the truth of the matter is it does not take a constitutional amendment to invite foreign investors to come to our country,” Santiago, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, revisions of codes and laws, said in a media interview Monday night.

Recently, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Senator Franklin Drilon said it is now the high time to revisit the economic provision of the Constitution with the end view of attracting more foreign investments.

Santiago said the foreign investors still consider the stable and certain economic regulatory system as the important factor in pouring out their money and capital.

”The issue is always is the economic regulatory system so certain and stable that when an investor comes with his money and capital and invests it in our economy, he will be sure that in the next 20 to 30 years the rules will remain the same,” Santiago said.

Santiago said the rules that “keep changing all the time” as well as the degree of corruption that distorts the rules continued to shy away the foreign investors.

”Any businessman will tell you that what will invite investments in our country is not whether we allow them to own the enterprise or limit them only to 40 percent ownership. That is not the core issue,” Santiago said.

A constitution expert, Santiago also opposed the mode to amend the constitution that is being pushed at the House of Representative, saying "it is unconstitutional".

”What they are proposing is that the constitutional amendments should be passed as if it is an ordinary bill, that is to say it should be passed in the House, then passed in the Senate, and then there should be a conference committee,” Santiago said.

Santiago said amending the Constitution, which is the highest law of the land, should involve higher level of sovereignty.

”I am aghast at that proposal because to say that a constitutional amendment should be passed the same way as an ordinary bill is an oxymoron. It is dead wrong,” she said.

Santiago believed that even the Supreme Court would reject the procedure being proposed by the House to amend the Constitution.

Leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives agreed to discuss the possibility of amending the Constitution during the recent first Legislative Summit. (PNA) RMA/jfm

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