Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 proposing amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution provides for a mongrelized process because it effectively authorizes the Congress to make amendments by legislation in violation of the limited amendatory procedure prescribed in Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution.
The omnibus and boundless phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” is an infirm or pseudo proposal because the real power to amend is fully vested in the Congress as a lawmaking body instead of being exercised by a Constituent Assembly, Constitutional Convention or People’s Initiative.
Any proposed alienation of the nationality provisions in the Constitution on restricted foreign capital investment in sensitive industries as well as in land acquisition and ban on media ownership, among others, must be specific and complete for the consideration of a Constituent Assembly or Constitutional Convention, and the eventual ratification by the people who must be clearly informed of the parameters of the proposed amendments.
It should not be left to the Congress as a legislature to exercise blanket authority to subsequently fill in the blanks or provide the details of the amendments to the economic provisions.
It is different when the Congress is authorized by the Constitution itself at the time of its ratification to enact implementing legislation which are not in the nature of constitutional amendments.
In addition to the flawed process, the lifting of the nationalistic provisions is not needed because no less than the prospective foreign investors do not clamor for the removal of the so-called “restrictive” provisions which are salutary safeguards of Filipino posterity.
Various studies, including those of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the World Bank, show that the following factors principally determine the entry of foreign direct investments (FDIs): (1) ease of doing business, (2) adequacy and quality of infrastructure, (3) predictability of government policies, (4) government stability, (5) cost of power, (6) internet speed, (7) incidence of corruption, (8) transparency in public procurement, and (9) labor skills and wages.
Removal or liberalization of the citizenship requirements in the Constitution is not one of the principal determinants for encouraging foreign investments.
Verily, Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 is defective in procedure and deficient in merit.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN