A stalwart of the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) lauded President Aquino for categorically saying that he is not seeking a second term and that he will step down when his term expires on June 30, 2016.
Valenzuela City Congressman Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian, however, expressed surprise on the President’s reason for being open to Charter change has something to do with limiting the judiciary’s supposed “meddling” with the two other branches of the government.
It was the second time that the President had said that the powers of the judiciary should be clipped, especially after the Supreme Court struck down his economic stimulus plan, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). The high court also declared as “unconstitutional” the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) of legislators resulting to the scrapping of the pork barrel from the national budget.
“The President’s reiteration that he was open to amending the Constitution purportedly to set limits to judicial overreach smells of political vendetta against a Supreme Court that has exercised its independence on the issues of DAP and PDAF. Clipping the high court’s powers is not a good reason for Chacha,” said Gatchalian.
Gatchalian said pushing for Chacha to clip the powers of the Judiciary will not sit well with the Filipino people, who finds an ally in an independent Supreme Court especially in the issues of pork barrel and the controversial DAP.
He said clipping the SC powers through Chacha might be viewed as part of a grand design to get even with the Supreme Court along with the move by the House justice committee to investigate the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) and the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s attempt to lifestyle check SC justices using their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN).
Gatchalian said he is in favor of Charter change only for the economic provisions as this will as this is needed to further perk up the economy and sustain the growth which the Aquino administration has so far attained.
The lawmaker, however, is against the removal of restrictions on foreigners owning land or establishing businesses where they can be the majority stockholders as this will be detrimental not only to local businessmen but also to the ordinary farmers.
House Resolution 1, authored by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte seeks to add the phrase “unless otherwise amended by law” to constitutional provisions on ownership of land and certain businesses.
Gatchalian said revising the 60-40 ownership rule will indeed draw more foreign businessmen to invest in local companies and in turn generate more employment but “altering the provisions on land ownership will leave farmers with nothing to till on.”
“Farmers will be enticed to sell their land to foreigners who can offer high valuations for their agricultural land. However, our country has very limited resources for social protection. So in the long run, without adequate social protection, these farmers will be unemployed and will seek refuge in the overcrowded cities,” he said. (Monica Cantilero)