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Senate will reject Cha-cha — Drilon

SENATE Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has one advice for lawmakers who are insisting on Charter change (Cha-cha): make sure there is a return address.

“If the House of Representatives would insist on passing Cha-cha, make it a point to include their return address, because the Senate and the Filipino people will not accept it,” the minority leader said in a statement.

Drilon said the proposal to amend the Constitution is not a priority in the upper chamber, echoing the statement earlier made by Senate President Vicente Sotto III.

“Our counterparts in the lower house have the fighting spirit of a Filipino athlete. I do not want to dampen their spirit, but their Cha-cha is doomed,” Drilon stressed.

Last week, a still unnumbered resolution was approved by the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments in a closed-door meeting.

The resolution proposes, among others, to extend the term of the congressmen and local government officials from the current 3 years to 5 years, and to add the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” on economic provisions in the Constitution.

Drilon said the non-mention of Cha-cha and federalism in the last state of the nation address of President Duterte was a clear message to Congress that Cha-cha is no longer a priority of the administration.

“Apparently, the message was lost on the members of the House of Representatives. I had said it before and I will say it once more, Cha-cha is dead,” Drilon said.

The minority leader said it is a self-serving move on the part of the House members to propose an extension of their term.

“The term extension is ill-conceived. It extinguishes all the good intentions they may have in mind in pushing for Cha-cha. We will oppose it,” he added.

Drilon also noted that the majority of Filipinos are against the proposed shift to a federal system of government, citing a 2018 survey by Pulse Asia which showed that 67 percent of Filipinos opposed Charter change, with only 18 percent in favor and 14 percent undecided.