(Explanation of Negative Vote on HB No. 7352 By Rep. Edcel C. Lagman)
I vote “No” to HB No. 7352 or “The Constitutional Convention Act” for the following overriding reasons:
No less than the Chairman of the sponsoring Committee on Constitutional Amendments admitted in plenary session that Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 is not yet complete, effective and implementable pending its approval by the Senate.
Verily, the approval of the “Constitutional Convention Act”, which is entitled “An Act Implementing Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 of the Congress of the Philippines calling for a Constitutional Convention”, is patently precipitate and premature as there is nothing yet to be implemented.
Moreover, the House of Representatives’ consideration and approval of HB No. 7352 is an exercise in inordinate futility because no less than the Senate President disclosed that the Senate cannot muster the extraordinary requisite vote to join the House in calling for charter change via a constitutional convention.
The eventuality of a deadlock or an impasse could have been avoided had there been a joint session between the House and the Senate in considering Resolution of Both Houses No. 6. Had the House called for a joint session with the Senate, which is the proper mode when the Congress exercises its constituent power under Art. XVII of the Constitution, and the Senate demurred or did not agree, then it would have been clear from the very start that the Senate would not now venture into charter change.
Again, the sponsors of Resolution of Both Houses No. 6 and HB No. 7352 repeatedly and correctly admitted that the agenda of a constitutional convention cannot be controlled by the Congress. Consequently, the political provisions in the Constitution can be altered, including term limits. This could be the clandestine agenda which the people feared when they invariably opposed Cha-Cha before and until now.
No less than the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported that direct foreign investments to the Philippines shrunk by 23% in 2022 because of “extended global slowdown and high inflation, which adversely affected investor decisions.” The decrease in foreign direct investments was not due to the nationalistic provisions in the Constitution which the proponents of Cha-Cha want to liberalize or eliminate. Global and domestic economic conditions are the determinants of FDIs.
With negative economic indicators plaguing the economy, coupled with a dubious human rights record, no amount of liberalization of the constitutional economic provisions would induce or attract more foreign investors.
On the other hand, when we open wide the economy up to 100% to foreign investment, the lords of foreign capital may not only supplement Filipino capital but supplant it altogether in gross violation of the constitutional mandate that the “State shall develop a self-reliant and independent economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.”
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.