Senator-elect Robin Padilla (File photo)

MANILA – It is high time to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution to attract more foreign investments in the country, Senator-elect Robin Padilla said on Saturday.

In a Facebook live, Padilla said relaxing the economic restrictions in the country would help the Philippines catch up with its neighboring countries.

This, as he lamented that the "60-40" ownership rule that is enshrined in the Philippine Constitution merely benefits the oligarchs.

"Oras na para tanggapin na natin itong ating mga foreign investment. Papasukin na natin sila at gawin nating fair. Sumobra na. Masyado ng yumaman ang ating mga local oligarch. Paabutin naman natin 'yung yaman doon sa mga tao sa baba (It is now time to accept more foreign investments. We have to make it fair. This is too much. Local oligarchs are getting richer. The poor could not feel any progress)," Padilla said.

Padilla issued the statement, as he blasted former presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda and outgoing Senator Franklin Drilon for questioning his proposal to introduce amendments to the Constitution.

Lacierda, in a tweet on Thursday, said it is better to push for a "simple" legislation to address the pressing issues in the country rather than seek an economic charter change.

He also told Padilla that amending the Constitution is a "long and costly process."

"The problem with Charter Change (Cha-cha) is as much as you want to focus on certain issues, doing it would likewise open other provisions for change, not to mention it takes longer to do Cha-cha. And lastly, it has to go through people’s assent through referendum. [That's] a long and costly process," Lacierda said.

On the other hand, Drilon on Friday said seniority in the Senate would be given "heavier" consideration in choosing the chairperson of its major committees.

Drilon's statement came after Padilla expressed openness to lead the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments.

Padilla expressed dismay that Lacierda and Drilon are already criticizing him over his proposed amendments to the Constitution.

"Ngayon na panahon na namin na kami ang pinagkatiwalaan ng mga tao, eh kami ang a-advise-san niyo. Hindi tama iyan (Now that the people have trusted us, you are advising us the things we should do. That's not right)," Padilla said. "You had your time. It's our time, 'di ba (isn't it)? Subukan niyo naman 'yung mga sinasabi namin (Perhaps you you can try our proposals, too)."

Padilla stressed that lifting economic restrictions that limit the inflow of foreign investments into the country would give Filipino people, especially the poor, a "comfortable life."

"Dahil sa batas na ginawa ng 1987 Constitution na iyan, ang yumayaman, 'yung mayaman na. At 'yung mga mahihirap, lalong humihirap kasi hindi naman umabot sa kanila 'yung investment ng foreigner. Huwag na tayong magkunwari pa na kaya natin (The rich get richer because of the 1987 Constitution. The poor get poorer because they could not feel the benefits of foreign investments. Let us not pretend that we are better off without foreign investments)," he said. (PNA)