Charter Change now the best time -- Sen. Drilon


Changes to the economic provisions of the Constitution should be introduced now, with Senator Franklin Drilon saying it will douse speculation against any effort to change the form of government and extend the term of President Benigno Aquino III.

"To me, more than any other time, this is the best time to propose amendments to the Constitution. The trust rating of the President is very high. He can exercise his political leadership," said Drilon.

"We have a President who we all know is not interested in amending the Constitution for his personal benefit. I am certain that the President will reject that any amendment that would change the form of government or will indicate any extension of his term. Therefore, this is the best time to take a look at the economic provisions. When else do we do this?" he added.

"I think that's the high moral road that he has taken and which the people who trust President Aquino follow," said Drilon.

Both chambers of Congress, Drilon said, will junk efforts to amend other provisions in the Charter, as Senate and House leaders on Thursday agreed that "only economic provisions" in the Constitution would be up for review.

"The fact that it is bicameral, it provides check and balance and we are committed that it will only refer to economic provisions. All kinds of amendments will be proposed but the leadership will vote down any amendment outside of the economic provisions," Drilon said.

Drilon also assured transparency in the process, saying legislators will not proceed with the initiative if it would be unacceptable to the people.

"If it is unacceptable, then we will not go through with it. I do not want a situation where we do not act because we fear that it will not succeed," said Drilon.

Responding to questions that Malacanang is not yet considering constitutional amendments as priority, Drilon said: "We intend to present this to President Aquino to justify the need."

Drilon said that as far as the Senate is concerned, senators have not yet discussed specific ecnomic provisions in 
the Constitution that would be amended, adding that another summit may be called after the October session break to discuss the "mechanics and process" of revising the Charter.