SENATE minority leader Franklin Drilon yesterday hit the move of League of Municipalities of the Philippines pushing amendments to the 1987 Constitution amid the COVID-19 pandemic, saying what the country needs now are food and jobs and not Charter change.
He also said he is ready to block the moves to amend the Constitution, whose real motive “is to postpone the 2022 national and local elections and remove politicians’ term limits.”
“Ako ay may tiwala sa ating kasamahan na makikita nila na hindi para sa kapakanan ng bayan ito. Haharangin ito sa Senado,” Drilon added. “The chance of it being passed in the Senate is very small. We in the minority are ready to fight it.”
Drilon issued the statements after Narvacan, Ilocos Sur Mayor Luis “Chavit” Singson, LMP national president, on Friday said his group has submitted to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año a resolution endorsing a proposal to institutionalize the “Mandanas ruling of the Supreme Court in the Constitution and the lifting of restrictions on foreign investment in industries currently limited to Filipinos.’’
In the Mandanas ruling, the Supreme Court said the “just share” of local government units (LGUs) in taxes must be computed and sourced from all national taxes and not just from the national internal revenue taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue
Drilon said the Mandanas ruling need not be institutionalized because it is already institutionalized.
“Ang kailangan natin ngayon ay pagkain hindi sayaw na Cha-cha. Yung walang hanap-buhay ang malaking problema ng bansa ngayon. Kaya dapat i-lockdown na ang Cha-cha na ito dahil masyadong divisive (What we need right now is food, not the Cha-cha dance.
Those who are jobless, they are a big problem now. That is why Cha-cha should be locked down because this is very divisive), ” Drilon said in an interview over radio station dzBB.
Drilon said the LGUs should not be worried about their higher internal revenue allotment (IRA) share because neither the Executive nor Congress can set aside or revise the ruling of the Supreme Court in the Mandanas case in 2019.
“The interpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court cannot be repealed or revised by Congress… When the Supreme Court ruled that the ‘just share’ of the LGUs under the Constitution means all taxes collected by the state, then the higher IRAs for LGUs must be implemented… Therefore, there is no need for institutionalization of the decision, because it is already institutionalized,” said Drilon, a former justice secretary.
He said institutionalizing the Mandanas ruling is just being used as an excuse to amend the Constitution.
On lifting restrictions on foreign investors, Drilon said the Senate has introduced a bill on that, and that Cha-cha is not necessary for it to be implemented.
“I agree that we should remove restrictions on foreign ownership. Ngayon puwede natin gawin iyan by law at hindi natin kailangan ng cha-cha (Now we can do that by means of a law and we do not need cha-cha for that),” he added.