Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, chair of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, said that she is against charter change at this time.

“If there should be charter change at all, it should be done by election of delegates to a constitutional convention, and not by transforming Congress into a constitutional assembly,” she said.

She added that transforming Congress into a constituent assembly would raise suspicion among the people that legislators might be serving certain agendas under pressure from vested interests and other lobby groups.

“Certain politicians boast that even if the nation calls for a constitutional convention with elected delegates, the local politicians would be able to control who the delegates will be.  That is hubris, unjustifiable pride of authority,” the senator said.

The solution to this, she said, is to educate the voting public of the need to disassociate the constitutional process from political patronage.

“President Aquino, at best, seems to be lukewarm to the idea of charter change.  His spokespersons have pointed out that the economy under President Aquino has substantially improved, without resorting to a drastic change in the constitutional provisions requiring majority ownership by Filipinos of major corporations, particularly those dealing with exploitation of our natural resources.  I agree with his view,” she said.

The senator said that it is not necessary to amend the Constitution in order to attract foreign investors.

“The reason why foreign investors shy away from the Philippines at this time is not the ownership rule mandated by our Constitution.  There are two main reasons for the lack of foreign investment,” the senator said.

She said that the first reason is the corruption embedded in our bureaucracy; and second reason is the present standoff with China, which threatens the West Philippine Sea.

“Investors are culturally shy of investment opportunities in a country that faces potential instability from a neighbor state that is less than friendly,” she said.

The senator said that there is no overwhelming emergency that charter change will solve.

“Why do we have to rush this before next year’s elections?  The chacha advocates even breached protocol by failing to inform Pres. Aquino of their chacha initiative,” she said.

Santiago was guest speaker at the General Assembly of the Friends of Asia-Pacific World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Philippines, yesterday, at the GSP Social Hall.#

Join the discussion