The support of President Benigno Aquino III is important in pushing for amendments to the 1987 Constitution, Senator Franklin Drilon yesterday said, as lawmakers are bent on pushing for revisions in the Charter's economic provisions.
Drilon, who presented a position paper on the proposed bicameral constituent assembly during a Legislative Summit last month, said that without the President's support, the initiative "will not succeed."
"As a reality, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to make amendments to the Constitution without the support of the President. We must have the support of the President in order to succeed in this effort. As a political exercise, this will not succeed without the President's support," Drilon said during a weekly forum in the Senate.
He said that legislators will convince Mr. Aquino to eventually support the bid.
"We will exert every effort to convince him (President Aquino) that it's about time that we take a look at the economic provisions of the Constitution," said Drilon.
President Aquino has earlier opposed constitutional amendments pushed by his allies in both chambers of Congress, saying he does not agree that amending the restrictive economic provisions in the Constitution is the solution for economic progress.
But Drilon believed the President "has not closed his mind at this point" and that Mr. Aquino will eventually endorse the move.
Drilon also downplayed suspicions by critics that the initiative could open gates to other proposals, particularly in lifting term limits of incumbent officials, saying lawmakers have agreed that only economic provisions of the Charter would be reviewed.
"The commitment of the political leaders is that it should be limited to economic provisions. I myself will oppose any proposal to amend political provisions," said Drilon.
Further, Drilon said that President Aquino is not inclined to support Cha-cha to extend his term which ends in 2016, as what had been done during the previous administration.
"The advantage of this administration is that we have a President who enjoys high credibility, who is sincere of not amending the Constitution for his own benefit. He is not interested in reelection. He does not intend to stay one day longer after June 30, 2016. This is the best time, in my mind, that we can take a good look at the Constitution," Drilon added.
"To me, more than any other time, this is the best time to review our Constitution without anyone suspecting that the incumbent President is interested in extending his term," said Drilon.