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PNoy shows no enthusiasm on Charter change

Manila, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III is still lukewarm to Charter change but will not block his allies in Congress from pursuing such amendments this year.

Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte said lawmakers have the prerogative to pursue their advocacies which includes introducing changes to the 1987 Constitution.

“The House, as far as pushing initiatives or at least advocacies that they think would be beneficial, that is something that they are free to do on their own,” Valte said in a Palace press briefing.

“We are not in a position to tell Congress what it should or should not do,” she added.

Valte, however, emphasized that Charter change remains the farthest thing in President Aquino’s mind at present. “The President has been consistent and categorical insofar as it is not a priority for his administration,” she said.

Valte also shrugged off concern that amending the Constitution is needed to help boost the growth of the local economy.

“What the President has always mentioned is that we’ve been able to do substantial (economic) gains without it and that it is not a priority for the administration still,” she said.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte earlier announced plans to push for amendments to the economic provisions of the Constitution this year, particularly in lifting foreign ownership restrictions.

Belmonte reportedly hopes that his colleagues will support the Charter change resolution by the first quarter of 2014. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)