NPC Leader Assures Proposed Charter Amendments to Be Purely Economic, Senate Will Have Separate Voting

Rizal 1st District Rep. Michael John “Jack” Duavit on Wednesday assured senators that political provisions in the 1987 Constitution will remain untouched and the Senate will convene separately to tackle the proposal to amend the economic provisions of the 34-year-old Charter.

“The House of Representatives will be giving full respect to the independence of the Senate and we will not be trying to corner them, push them or influence them in any untoward way, especially make them look bad in the public eye,” Duavit said during the weekly Ugnayan sa Batasan media forum.

Duavit, who is the head of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in the House of Representatives, added that it is not the responsibility of the House to convince nor influence the Senate.

“Ang focus po natin is to come up with a good product dito po sa House, and we hope that the Senate will do the same,” Duavit said.

He added: “Pero hindi natin sila mapupuwersa, hindi natin sila mai-impluwensiya. They will do what they think is right for the country, and we support them in however they do it also.”

Duavit also affirmed the NPC’s stand on Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2, authored by Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, that no political amendments to the Constitution will be entertained in the House.

“No political amendments, purely economic,” Duavit said.

The veteran legislator was confident that no House member will propose political amendments to the Constitution should RBH No. 2 reaches the plenary.

In the event that someone proposes such amendments, it will immediately be stricken down, he said.

“Sa tingin ko, ‘pag nangyari ‘yun at nakita ng tao na kami rin ang nagsabing hindi pwede ‘yan, out of order ka ‘di ba?” Duavit said. “Pag pumasok ang political diyan, that still requires a three-fourths vote. You’re already hearing from the party leaders that any political (amendments) that will enter here, we will vote against.”

Duavit also reiterated that the Filipino people will ultimately decide on the economic Charter amendments through a national plebiscite.

“Siguro ‘’yung masasabi na lang natin sa publiko is ‘wag kayong mag-alala’. Ginagawa lang po namin ang trabaho namin. Sa puno’t dulo naman, makikita n’yo naman kung gusto ninyo o hindi n’yo gusto ‘yong produkto, at doon na lang po tayo magdesisyon. Huwag na lang natin tingnan ang mga personality muna—tingnan natin ‘yung produkto natin kung ito’y maganda o hindi,” Duavit said.

The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments is currently deliberating on RBH No. 2, which aims to give Congress the flexibility to liberalize the “restrictive” economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

The move is seen to open up the Philippine economy to more foreign investments and help the country recover faster from the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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