PNoy won't budge on Cha-cha

Posted at 07/09/13 1:56 PM

MANILA - Malacañang believes that the latest congressional push for Charter change will not affect the passage of priority bills in the new Congress.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte pointed out that while House Speaker Sonny Belmonte has been pro-Charter change, key pieces of legislation were passed in the previous Congress.

"Kahit noong dati pang hayag na ang posisyon ni Speaker Belmonte dito at hayag ang posisyon ng Pangulong Aquino, parang hindi naman din po siya naging balakid, given the number of initiatives also that have been passed in the 15th Congress," Valte said.

There is no indication that the President is changing his position on Charter change. President Aquino has previously said that Cha-cha is not a priority for his administration.

"It's not that it should not be done. It's perhaps the timing as well as given the process of constitutional amendments... There is the question... as to the urgency, whether it should be done at a particular time," Valte said.

Belmonte has revived his proposal to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution, something which was concurred with by majority leader Neptali Gonzales II and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

President Aquino earlier reiterated his position opposing calls for a change in the economic provisions of the Constitution. Aquino said that limiting foreign ownership of companies in the Philippines is not a hindrance to attracting foreign investors.

He also cited China’s experience where the economy has substantial growth despite limitations on foreign ownership.

“I think my stand has been public for the longest time. I don’t think they are a necessary detriment to getting foreign investments in this country,” he said.

He cited surveys that show foreign chambers are more concerned about the lack of infrastructure and the peace and order situation more than the restrictions on foreign ownership.