HOUSE Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Monday scheduled plenary debates on his resolution seeking to amend only the economic provisions of the Constitution, preempting moves by allies of President Benigno Aquino III who want the amendments to include the lifting of term limits to enable Aquino to run for a second term.
“It is now submitted to the plenary for debate. I will push for the revision on economic provisions only as planned,” Belmonte told the Manila Standard.
Belmonte said the resolution is up for sponsorship next week when the House resumes its session after a week-long break due to holidays.
Davao City Rep. Mylene Garcia-Albano, chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments, is expected to deliver the sponsorship speech on the floor.
The resolution, principally authored by Belmonte, with 35 other lawmakers as co-authors, was approved by Garcia-Albano’s panel unanimously.
Lawmakers opposed to amendments to the political provisions of the Constitution were suspicious that the Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas and the Liberals would use Belmonte’s resolution as a vehicle to insert changes to the term limits and other non-economic provisions.
The lawmakers cited Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone, who was one of Belmonte’s 35 co-authors in the House resolution.
Evardone, LP spokesman, has been campaigning for the revision of the political provisions that would allow the President a reelection.
Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, an ally of Belmonte in the Nationalist People’s Coalition, withdrew his support for the amendment of economic provisions after the LP leaders started pushing for the inclusion of political provisions.
Belmonte assured the 116 LP members that he would not allow changes to the political provisions, however.
Belmonte’s resolution seeks to amend seven articles of the Constitution that deal with economic provisions.
A vote of three-fourths of all its members with each house voting separately is required for the approval of the revisions.
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said Aquino and his allies in Congress have now resorted to the extreme act of amending the Constitution just to preserve the pork barrel system.
“It’s all about money — stealing the people’s money and wanting to get away with it,” Casiño said.
Casiño said it was about President Aquino’s wish to clip the Supreme Court’s powers through charter change.
“Why is the President suddenly interested in curtailing the powers of the Supreme Court? Because the SC dealt serious blows against the pork barrel system. The Pork Barrel King and his minions in Congress will have a hard time enjoying their pork if the SC continues to check on them,” Casiño said.
“Even as we speak, the Palace and the administration-dominated Congress have connived to create new pork barrel mechanisms to undermine the SC’s decision on the PDAF, as proven by the expose of ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio.
“They are also conniving to institutionalize the DAP in the 2015 budget by redefining savings and allowing cross-border transfers,” he said.
“What more if the SC’s powers to check on them are clipped?” he said.
Casino called on the public to attend the “Stand Up, Sign Up Against All Pork” rally in Luneta on Aug. 25, the anniversary of the Luneta Million People March Against the Pork Barrel. With Maricel V. Cruz
By Christine F. Herrera August 19, 2014 Manila Standard Today Read more: http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/08/19/speaker-jumps-gun-on-roxas-s-cha-cha/