PBBM: Talks with solons, legal luminaries on Charter reforms constant

By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

January 31, 2024, 8:12 am

<p>President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. <em>(PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)</em></p>

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is in constant communication with lawmakers and legal luminaries to get their insights on the proposed reforms to the Constitution.

In a media interview on the sidelines of his state visit to Vietnam on Tuesday, Marcos said he had consulted Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Juan Ponce Enrile to determine the “best thing” to do when it comes to amending the 1987 Constitution.

“So the details have not yet been decided upon. That is precisely what we will be working on,” Marcos said when asked how he intended to resolve the issues about calls for amending the Charter through a People’s Initiative (PI).

Marcos said he could not say if PI was “still one of the options that remains for us.”

He added that he has been talking to the top leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the past few days to resolve their differing views on PI.

“In fact, before I left, I met with our legal luminaries and tried to find a way dahil ‘yan naman talaga ang aabutin nila (because that’s what would they discuss) are the economic provisions that I have been talking for many, many years already,” Marcos said.

Marcos said the usual conflict between the House of Representatives and the Senate is whether to vote together or separately.

He said he had asked congressional leaders and some of the “best” constitutional minds to come up with a simpler solution that would not stir controversy.

“Now there’s advice that we are getting: the best analysis and interpretation that we have is that the legislature is of bicameral nature and therefore that implies that they will vote separately,” Marcos said.

“So, how that will be done now is what we are trying to figure out, how will it be done so that both Houses’ role is in this bicameral system is preserved and that is what we are working right now,” he added.

Marcos earlier said it is the job of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to look into reports of alleged buying out of signatures for a PI for amending the Charter.

On Jan. 26, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said “unnecessary restrictions” in the economic provision of the constitution should be eliminated to entice more foreign investors.

The following day, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda agreed with Balisacan, saying constitutional amendments are crucial in boosting investors’ confidence in the country. (PNA)