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Dela Rosa: PDP-Laban bloc accepts Cha-cha measure won’t reach Senate plenary

The four-member PDP-Laban bloc in the Senate has already accepted that the measure seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution via constituent assembly will not reach the chamber’s plenary, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said Thursday.

“Alam naman talaga natin na hindi makakarating sa plenary 'yan. Kukulangin talaga kami ng suporta d’yan… Tanggap namin ‘yan dahil nga nakuha na namin 'yung sentimyento ng aming mga colleagues. Eh ganun talaga,” Dela Rosa said in an online interview with reporters.

(We already know it won't reach the plenary. We lack the support for it. We've accepted it because we sense our colleagues' sentiments. That's how it goes.)

“Kami lang naman si [Francis] Tolentino, Bong Go, Robin Padilla, kaming apat lang naman ang nagsusuportahan.  Wala naman kaming nakita sa iba. So most likely, ganon ang mangyari,” he added.

(Only the four of us—Tolentino, Bong Go, Robin Padilla—who are supporting it. We're not seeing anything from the rest. So most likely, that is what will happen.)

Dela Rosa added, however, that he will not call the committee-level hearings a “waste of time,” saying Padilla has exerted effort to make something out of the consultations.

“Pinaghirapan niya ‘yan, talagang emotionally attached siya diyan sa Cha-cha na ‘yan kaya ‘di natin masabi na waste of time. At least may binunga kahit saang level makarating, at least merong resulta,” he said.

(He worked hard on it. He is emotionally attached to Cha-cha so we can't say it has been a waste of time. At least, whatever level it reaches, there have been some results.)

He then expressed admiration for Padilla for pushing for his advocacy, adding that the neophyte is still “learning the ropes” at the Senate, where there are instances that he cannot secure the support from the majority bloc.

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva on Wednesday said all senators agreed in a caucus that the measure seeking Charter change will undergo the usual legislative procedure.

“I think it is very clear among all of us na ang proseso ay kung makagawa ng committee report ang Committee on Constitutional Amendments at may sapat na suporta ito mula sa miyembro ng committee, ito’y dadalhin sa plenaryo for deliberation,” he added.

(I think it is very clear among all of us that the process is if the Constitutional Amendments committee can make a report and it has sufficient support from the committee members, it will be brought to the plenary for deliberation.)

Padilla is seeking to amend the constitution’s economic provision through a constituent assembly.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is pushing to introduce amendments to the charter via a constitutional convention.

In February 2023, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Cha-cha is not his administration’s priority.

As early as July 2022, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri said that the chamber will not prioritize any moves to amend the charter. — BM, GMA Integrated News