Frustration Over Lack of Support for Constitutional Amendments – Robin Padilla

Mano po Sen. Robinhood Padilla shows respect to The Manila Times Chairman Emeritus Dante Ang on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. At left is TMT President and Chief Operating President Blanca Mercado. Photo by J. Gerard Seguia
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SEN. Robinhood Padilla expressed his frustration and disappointment over the lack of support from his colleagues for a resolution he introduced in 2023 to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution. As the chairman of the Senate constitutional amendments committee, Padilla initially had hope that the amendments to the “restrictive” economic provisions would gain approval from the 24-member Senate.

Padilla revealed that many senators, including Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, were in favor of the resolution and had previously filed similar measures. However, Zubiri stated that it was not the right time to amend the Constitution, as Congress had committed to prioritizing 10 urgent bills identified by the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac).

Despite the initial setbacks, Padilla released a draft report in March 2023 but failed to garner the support of his colleagues. Undeterred, he pushed for Charter change again in December 2023, this time focusing on changing certain political provisions. His proposed amendments included expanding the number of senators, lengthening the terms of office for senators and representatives, and introducing joint candidacy for the president and vice president.

Padilla justified his proposed changes, stating that adjusting the term of office for the President and Vice President would strike a balance between leadership stability and democratic continuity. He argued that joint candidacy would shift the electoral landscape’s emphasis from individual personalities to a unified policy agenda, promoting more strategic and effective governance.

Unfortunately, Padilla’s resolution once again failed to reach the Senate plenary. The senator expressed his gratitude to the Filipino people who voted for him, as their support kept him motivated. He admitted that being the number one senator in the 2022 elections did not provide him with any advantage. Instead, the Senate culture prioritized seniority over newcomers, making it difficult for neophyte senators to gain support from their colleagues.

Despite the challenges, Padilla remains committed to pushing for amendments to both the economic and political provisions of the Charter. He expressed his support for Resolution of Both Houses 6 and RBH 7, which are currently being advocated. However, he emphasized the need for the Senate and the House of Representatives to first resolve the issue of whether to vote jointly or separately before proceeding with amending the other provisions of the 1987 Constitution.

Padilla’s efforts to amend the Constitution reflect his dedication to improving the country’s governance and economic landscape. Despite facing resistance and disappointment, he continues to fight for change, driven by the support of the people who elected him. As the discussions on constitutional amendments progress, it is crucial for lawmakers to consider the potential benefits and implications of such changes, ensuring that the voices and concerns of the Filipino people are heard and addressed.

Source: The Manila Times

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