A HOUSE leader has strongly urged the House leadership led by Speaker
Lord Allan Velasco to revive calls to amend the Constitution,
stressing that advancing constitutional reforms amid the coronavirus
disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic will help rebuild the shuttered
In his privilege speech Monday, House Assistant Majority Leader and
Quezon Rep. David “Jayjay” Suarez said it is high time for lawmakers
to resume considerations of pending proposals seeking to revise the
“Mga kasama, malinaw pa sa sikat ng araw na kailangang makabangon ang
ekonomiya. Kailangang mabigyan ng trabaho ang milyun-milyong Pilipino,
siguruhin ang pagkain sa mesa ng bawat pamilya sa bansa, protektahan
ang kalusugan ng ating mgakababayan, at palakasin ang autonomy at
mandato ng mga lokal na gobyerno to respond to the needs of our
people,” Suarez, vice chairman of the House committees on public
accounts and on good government and public accountability, told his
“Mr. Speaker, if this is an extraordinarily difficult time, then it
is also the high time to explore and pursue extraordinary solutions,”
Suarez said in urging Velasco to pursue Charter change (Cha-cha).
Suarez, vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said
the House leadership must continue to support President Rodrigo “Rody”
Duterte’s efforts to amend the Constitution
“I want to take the opportunity to talk about constitutional reform.
Mr. Speaker, it is an issue that we need to tackle in order to help
our country build back better. It is even more critical to talk about
it now that we are facing the devastating effects of multiple
calamities and disasters, on top of a global pandemic. Mr. Speaker,
the basic principle is that building the better normal requires a
better constitution,” Suarez stressed.
“I know that this is a sensitive topic to us lawmakers and the
constituencies that we represent. In fact, in the recent months, when
the topic was floated, we’ve heard responses like this is not the
right time, that it is dead before it starts and that it is a divisive
topic to be discussed during the pandemic. Pero Mr. Speaker, mga kasama, saying that it is not the right time does not answer the bigger question: When is the right time? Kailan nga ba ang tamang panahon upang pag-usapan ang isyung ito?,” Suarez, a
former Quezon governor, asked.
He added that Cha-chawould complement the Duterte administration’s
initiatives to accelerate economic growth
“Pag natapos na ang pandemya? Magiging chicken and egg lang ho iyong
usapan – sinasabi na huwag pag-usapan ang reporma sa Saligang-Batas
hangga’t may krisis, pero hindi ba mas mabilis at maayos ang pagtapos
sa krisis kung maitatama ang kakulangan ng sistema? At hindi ba
magsisimula ang pag-aayos sa isang kalmado at mabusising pag-uusap
nating mga mambabatas? I very respectfully disagree with the sentiments used to automatically shut down the discussion. There is no better time to discuss
constitutional reform than now,” Suarez stressed.
Suarez, however, admitted “that the fears of our people [on Cha-cha) are legitimate.
“Although I feel that a chunk of the apprehension is partially due to
propaganda and the lack of understanding,” he said. “Our
responsibility as lawmakers and representatives of the Filipino people
is to build trust, initiate a sober and people-inclusive discussion,
and exhaust all means to enlighten our people about the issue.”
“Our kababayans have to know, and we have to convince them, that this
move is in our best interests as a nation. Ang trabaho natin ay
ipakita na katuwang ang ordinaryong mamamayan sa pagbabago, at hindi
lang iwagayway sa kanila ang resulta kapag tapos na ang proseso.
Dahil ang klaro ho sa lahat ng ito: the lack of trust does not prove
the lack of need to pursue constitutional reform, if not at least to
talk about it. Naniniwala ako that all of us here are patriots and can
bring something meaningful in the discussion table,” Suarez pointed
“Even if we do not realize it in this Congress, our debates and
deliberations will be a stronger foundation in the future. To me, that
is a more meaningful legacy than shooting the topic dead before it
even lived,” he said.