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‘Cha-cha’ proposal good as dead

A House of Representatives proposal to relax economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution was “virtually dead” after congressmen failed to approve it before going on a Lenten break, according to a congressman.

The Charter change proposal “is now virtually dead and is headed to the graveyard,” party-list Rep. Michael T. Defensor said in a statement on Friday.

“Sensing public condemnation if he pushed for it amid rising coronavirus infection numbers, Speaker Lord Allan Q. Velasco aborted the planned approval of his Cha-cha resolution before the Lenten break,” he said.

The House committee on constitutional amendments last month adopted a resolution that inserts the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in the economic provisions of the Constitution, allowing more foreign ownership in certain industries.

Congress will take a break from March 27 to May 16. Mr. Defensor said they only have nine days before the second regular session adjourns on June 4.

“I don’t think the leadership will try to have the resolution passed during the nine-day sessions,” he said. “Even if the House would approve it, the Senate would no longer have time for it.”

The first few months of the third regular session that starts on July 26 would be allotted to 2022 national budget deliberations and some lawmakers would be filing their candidacies in October for next year’s national elections, Mr. Defensor said

“Clearly, the pandemic and lack of time militate against the Speaker’s Charter amendment effort,” he said.

The remainder of the 18th Congress would address measures for economic recovery and financial assistance to the poor, he added. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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