Sep 092014
Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice has shelved his plans to introduce amendments to the Constitution allowing an incumbent President to seek reelection.

In a privilege speech Tuesday, Erice said House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. had asked him to withdraw the bill he is planning to file so that the chamber could focus on deliberations on the pending resolution to amend only the economic provisions in the Constitution.

“Nais kong linawin na ako’y sang-ayon sa payo ni Speaker Belmonte na huwag ko pong isabay sa pagtalakay sa House Resolution 1 na patungkol sa economic provisions ang aking panukala tungkol sa political provisions ng Konstitusyon,” the lawmaker said.

The Liberal Party stalwart earlier said he will file a bill to amend the political provisions of the Constitution to enable the President to run for a second term. The measure eyed by Erice will enable the head of state to serve for two consecutive four-year terms if he or she is reelected.

Erice had said he was “tempted” with the idea of amending the Constitution to allow President Benigno Aquino III to run for office again.

No surprises

Belmonte’s Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 (RBH 1), meanwhile, seeks to amend the following articles of the Constitution: Article II or the Declaration of State Principles and Policies, Article XII on National Economy and Patrimony, and Article XVI which contains sections on foreign ownership.

The Speaker inserted the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” in his proposal to indicate that the current restrictions will remain in place until Congress acts to amend them.

RBH 1 is currently being debated in the plenary.

Erice pledged not to insert political amendments to RBH 1 while it is still in the House, saying the public can expect him “not to pull off any surprises.”

Last month, Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales, the chairman of the House committee on rules, said there is no rule banning legislators from introducing any kind of amendment to the pending Charter change resolution in the House once the period of amendments commences. —KBK, GMA News

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