Drilon: No LP stand yet on Cha-cha

Posted at 08/19/2014 3:14 PM

MANILA - Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Liberal Party (LP) has not yet adopted a party stand on Charter change, noting that it has not yet discussed the matter.

Drilon said his partymates have also not discussed a proposal to allow President Benigno Aquino III to seek another term.

"There is no official party stand. We have not discussed this in the party," he told reporters on Tuesday.

On the proposal to amend the charter's economic provisions, Drilon said the Senate would just be waiting for the action to be taken by the House of Representatives.

"My agreement with Speaker [Sonny] Belmonte is that once they pass the proposed amendment in the House, we will immediately work on it in the Senate," he said.

Downplaying concerns that the political provisions may also be amended at the same time, Drilon said that there is no guarantee that proposals made by the House would win concurrence from the Senate.

"We have proposed early on that the process should follow the process for legislation except that there is a qualified majority. So there are built-in checks. For example, presently, you cannot be assured that once a law is passed in the House, it will be passed in the Senate because that is precisely the system that we have. There is a check and balance between the two houses," Drilon said.

LP ALONE CAN'T PUSH FOR CHA-CHA

House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II also denied talk of the Liberal Party laying out the groundwork for a possible term extension for President Aquino.

Gonzales said LP stalwarts or the House leadership have not received marching orders to work on Charter change centered on the political provisions of the constitution. No formal or informal talks on the matter have taken place, he said.

Gonzales said talk of possible term extensions are limited to media reports after President Aquino told a TV interview that he is open to the possibility of Charter change. The majority floor leader said administration allies will continue pushing for Charter change on economic provisions, which has long been pending at the Lower House.

Until a lawmaker files a bill on political Charter change, the House leadership can make no move.

Gonzales also admitted the LP alone cannot push for amending the Constitution.

As part of the ruling majority, LP has 113 members in the Lower House. The proposal, however, would need 3/4 of the vote.

Deliberations on the economic provisions begin Tuesday next week.