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Cha-cha to be ‘dead on arrival’ at Senate, says Gatchalian

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Charter change would be "dead on arrival" if ever it reaches the Senate, according to Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday.

"The Senate will push back. Again, I don't even see a scenario wherein the Senate will tackle this issue if it reaches the Senate," Gatchalian told reporters in a virtual interview.

"Aside from it's not the right time, this is going to be futile... It's also a bill that is, I can say, DOA na ito eh. Dead on arrival na rin. In fact, parang dead before it started pa nga eh," he added.

His remarks came after over 1,000 municipal mayors campaigned for Charter change, supposedly to attain economic and social progress in their jurisdictions.

But Gatchalian said Cha-cha would be divisive and its political impact could ruin the government's efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The senator said he does not think the proposal would stand a chance in 2021 even if a vaccine or cure for the contagion comes out this year.

"We will have to deal with our economic issues in 2021," he said.

Moreover, he pointed out that constitutional reform would be a sensitive issue as the 2022 national elections are just around the corner.

"Touching the Constitution before the election year doesn't send the right signals to our constituents," Gatchalian said.

The House Committee on Constitutional Amendments said it will convene soon to discuss the mayors' proposal.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, on the other hand, said Cha-cha is not a priority in the Upper House.

Both presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said President Rodrigo Duterte is neither considering Charter change a priority  nor even talking about it. — BM, GMA News

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