“Kaya ako sumama sa PDP–Laban dahil sa charter change at pederalismo. Kung ang mangyayari bukas na ang buong partido ay susuportahan nila ang kung anuman, con-ass (constituent assembly) man o con-con (constitutional convention), maraming salamat. Iyan ay ipagdiriwang ko pero kung sasabihin sa akin bukas na huwag natin suportahan ang charter change, sa araw na iyon, resigned na ako at independent na ako,” Padilla, who chairs the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, said in an interview with reporters.
(The reason why I joined PDP-Laban is because of charter change and federalism. I will be in great gratitude if the entire party will support either a constituent assembly or constitutional convention. I will celebrate that. But if I am told tomorrow that we should not support the charter change, I will resign and I will be independent.)
PDP Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag said the party has yet to come up with an official stand on constitutional reform, but he said they are in favor of it, especially for economic provisions.
Matibag said it is also not a national priority for now.
On Thursday, March 16, Padilla wrapped up public hearings on proposed measures to encourage more foreign investments by amending the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
He conducted a hearing on Monday, March 20, which centered around the House-approved proposal for the establishment of constitutional convention.
Members of the House constitutional amendments committee were supposed to attend the hearing, but they were disinvited following a directive from Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Padilla said instead, they were ordered to hold an executive session as “interparliamentary courtesy.”
In response, Zubiri said his directive was brought about by the call of Congressman Elpidio Barzaga for a ceasefire on the heated discussion on the constitutional reform.
Zubiri earlier maintained that charter change is not a priority of the administration.
He also questioned the supposed rushing of the House of Representatives to implement the constitutional convention amid criticisms.
Padilla earlier vowed to push for charter change despite the lack of support from his fellow senators. (SunStar Philippines)