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Some Senators eyeing presidency, says Drilon




Without dropping names, opposition Sen. Franklin Drilon yesterday disclosed a number of his Senate peers are casting moist eyes on the presidency in 2022.

Drilon said he could sense it this early as he expects their roles in the 18th Congress may affect the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Drilon also said these presidential hopefuls will play the “biggest factor” in the Senate vote on the Charter change (cha-cha) being pushed by Malacañang.

“It is difficult to predict at this time how the senators will vote considering the new composition of the Senate,” Drilon said.

But what is becoming clear is the presidency in 2022 will play a huge role in how our colleagues will treat this renewed call for cha-cha and decide on their vote, he added.

A four-time Senate President, Drilon said he believes that the Senate will maintain its independence in handling the “divisive cha-cha” as it has shown in the past.

“The Senate always prides itself as independent of Malacañang. The people can always rely on that, so they can be assured that any attempt to revise or amend the Constitution to give way for Federalism will undergo the regular process and will not be railroaded,” Drilon reiterated.

“And the minority will be more vigilant against attempts to rush any bill, not only cha-cha,” he assured.

Drilon also disclosed that there are no efforts or discussions yet in the chamber regarding any amendments to the Constitution.

Drilon noted that 2018 surveys clearly showed that majority of the Filipino people are opposed to cha-cha and Federalism.

“I don’t think that people had a change of heart in the past months for them to favor cha-cha. It is clear that Filipinos do not see Charter change and Federalism as the solution to the problems of hunger, poverty, unemployment and lawlessness,” Drilon said.

He added that a resolution proposing amendments to the Constitution, either through a Constitutional Assembly or Constitutional Convention (con-con), will be referred to the committee, which will conduct hearings and submit a report.

Under the Constitution, amendments or revisions may be proposed through a constitutional assembly by a vote of three-fourths of all members or through a constitutional convention where the people elect delegates to propose amendments and revisions to the Constitution.

As former chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes that heard cha-cha during the last Congress, Drilon recalled that due to the Filipinos’ high level of distrust in Congress, the people, including three former chief justices of the Supreme Court (SC), believed that the best method to amend or revise the constitution is through a con-con rather than a Constitutional Assembly.

Among them are former Chief Justices Hilario Davide, Reynato Puno and Artemio Panganiban; and former SC Associate Justices Adolfo Azcuna and Eduardo Nachura, who raised the same opinion last Congress that a con-con should be adopted.

Puno heads the consultative body that the President formed to review the Constitution.