Miriam sees Cha-cha put off this year

July 6, 2010 9:59 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, July 6 – Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago said on Tuesday that Congress cannot take up the Charter change at least for this year due to many important matters that both the Senate and the House of Representatives are going to take up when the 15th Congress opens on July 26.

”Definitely, Congress is not going to take it up this year because there are many things that we in the Senate and the House have to attack first, considering the expectations of the public which become known to us after every election,” Santiago said in a phone patch interview with the Senate media.

”Let me just say its premature because the legislators are involved in the President’s legislative agenda at this time. And since this incumbent does not give it priority, that would be followed by the legislator,” she said.

Likened to 1,000 bombs that shattered Hiroshima during World War II, Santiago said the Constitutional change initiated by former President and now congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will require lengthy analysis and evaluation.

”That’s equivalent to 1000 Hiroshima bombs. In other words, its very, very controversial. This matter is not going to get full attention immediately. It may take a year and so forth,” Santiago said.

Santiango said for the Cha-cha to move forward, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III may form a committee to study the proposal for a constitutional convention.

”He can also call for a referendum, or he can call for a survey. Apparently the surveys are very close to the actual results of the elections, and the public is very receptive to the objective nature of a survey, so rather than resort for a referendum which is very expensive and which would take time, he can just conceivably just ask a leading survey firm to undertake a survey on what the people want in respect to charter change,” the lady lawmaker said.

When asked what pushed the former President to include Charter change in her list of agenda for the 15th Congress, Santiago said Arroyo might have been thinking of changing the economic provision of the Constitution to open up the economy to foreigners.

”I am not privy to the thinking of President Arroyo because she is an economist and I am on the political scientist. So I don’t know if this has to do with the national economy. Maybe, she wants to open up the economy which is sometimes called liberalizing the economic climate,” Santiago said. (PNA) RMA/jfm

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