Santiago wants to take up Cha-cha after 2013 midterm polls

July 12, 2012 9:57 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, July 12 – As the long deliberation on the national budget starts in August and election campaigning heats up by early next year, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago believes that the best time to take up Charter change would be after the 2013 midterm elections.

”I’ve always been against Constitutional amendments because after the opening of sessions, we will immediately conduct committee hearings on the budget from August until December,” Santiago said in a Senate media forum on Thursday.

”During that same period, the senators who are running for reelection will all focus on the campaign for May 2013 elections. You just have no time,” she added.

Santiago, a constitutional expert and newly-elected justice of the International Criminal Court (ICC), explained that Constitutional amendments should not be pushed “in a manner that will go around the need for full-bloodied consideration.”

”It’s not an ordinary law. It is the Constitution of the Philippines. The earliest that it can be taken up by both chambers of Congress will be after May 2013,” she stressed.

Santiago said there is no urgency to amend the Constitution, particularly the provision on the 60-40 percent requirement in ownership of foreign investments.

”Certain corporations, who are interested in the natural resources of our country, want to invest here but they want to own the whole thing. They don’t want to give the 40 percent to the Filipinos. They want total freedom to control their corporation in the repatriation of their profits to their own home countries. Some politicians are morally convinced. I’m not saying that we should automatically blame them but what I’m saying is we need time to study this matter. It is not as simple as it sounds,” Santiago further explained.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte have reportedly made initial talks about the possibility of tackling the constitutional amendment at the resumption of Congress this month. (PNA)



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