Belmonte signs ‘Cha-cha waiver’

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

HOUSE Speaker Feliciano Belmonte already signed the manifesto, which assures the public that Charter change (Cha-cha) discussions will cover only the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Belmonte said the manifesto is worthy of his support being the main author of Resolution of Both House (RBH) No. 1 to ensure that only economic revisions would be included in the Cha-cha resolution.

"We have to show that we are sincere that only some economic revisions would be introduced," Belmonte said.


Independent minority bloc members Leyte Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Represetative Lito Atienza of Buhay Party-list who authored of the manifesto welcomed the decision of Belmonte to sign the pledge.

"Speaker Belmonte has already signed the pledge to the Filipino people and we are very much elated with the gesture," said Atienza.

The former Manila mayor added that there is no need to solicit other members' signature because Belmonte represents the majority of members of the 16th Congress.

"This we think, reflected the sentiment of the majority. The Speaker is the representative of the majority," Atienza said.

Some 95 lawmakers have already signed the "Pledge to the Filipino People," in which they will submit themselves to expulsion from office once they proceed in amending the political provisions of the Charter.

"Only to tackle economic provisions of the Constitution as we move towards charter change. We will not touch political provisions, especially the extension of terms of incumbent officials and the lifting of term limits. We 'submit ourselves for expulsion" from Congress should this pledge be violated," the pledge stated.

Congress is now on recess and will resume sessions on May 5.

Belmonte said that despite its endorsement for plenary approval, RBH No. 1 will not be taken up this week and will instead await second reading approval when session resumes in May.

"I don't think there is a long debate on Cha cha but you will notice this is the simplest possible Cha cha that we can think of addressing a very important issue on the economy while at the same time not opening doors but providing keys to meet contingencies as they may occur," he said.

The measure will place the phrase "Unless Otherwise Provided by Law" in portions of the present constitution particularly on Sections 2, 3, 7, 10, and 11 of Article 12 (National Patrimony and Economy); Section 4 of Article 14 (Education, Science and Technology, Arts, Culture and Sports); and Section 11 of Article 16 (General Provisions).

Belmonte said proposed amendments will not automatically allow the restoration of foreign ownership in the country but rather "just providing keys to meet contingencies." (Sunnex)

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