DAVAO del Norte First District Rep. and former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez believed that current House Speaker Martin Romualdez is behind the controversial People’s Initiative (PI) for Charter change (Cha-cha) to push the latter's ambition to run for president in the upcoming elections.
"Alam naman natin lahat na talagang sumusulong nito yung Speaker of the House of Representatives, itong si Martin Romualdez. May sarili siyang ambisyon. Gusto maging pangulo ng Pilipinas (We all know that it is House Speaker Martin Romualdez who is pushing for PI for Charter change. He has his own agenda. He is planning to run for president of the Philippines)," Alvarez said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
Alvarez said he "doesn't trust" Romualdez, who is the cousin of President Ferdinand “Bongbong" Marcos Jr., and that he claimed that pushing for the Constitution amendment would be the House Speaker's opportunity to seek for higher post.
"Gusto niya kasi, palagay ko, babaguhin niya 'yan yung form of government (He wants to change the form of the government)," the Dabawenyo lawmaker said.
He also said that there is a lack of transparency in the push for a Constitutional amendment.
“Kailangan transparent, ilatag nila, ano ang dapat baguhin natin (They should be transparent. They should lay down the provisions they want to be amended)," Alvarez said.
"Mahirap kasi kapag pumayag ang Senado na mag-convene ang Congress into a constituent assembly upang talakayin ang amendment ng ating Saligang Batas (It would be difficult if the Senate would vote in favor for the Congress to convene into a constituent assembly to discuss the amendment of the Constitution)," he added.
He also said, "Hayaan mo 'yung Senado, House of Representatives magbigay ng kanilang komentaryo dun sa mga provisions na gusto nila palitan (Let the Senate and House of Representatives do their job and give comment on the provisions they want to amend)."
The former House leader, an advocate of federalism during former President Rodrigo Duterte's term, admitted he is skeptical of Charter change under the Marcos administration.
"Hindi ako sang-ayon na buksan yung amendment ng ating Saligang Batas ngayon dahil iba ang sitwasyon nung time ni former President Rodrigo Duterte (I am opposing the amendment of the Constitution because the situation is different during the time of former President Rodrigo Duterte),” he said.
“Kung maalala po natin bumuo pa siya ng constitutional commission na pinamumunuan ni former Chief Justice Renato Puno at miyembro nito, lahat ay mapagkakatiwalaan (If you could remember that the former president formed a constitutional commission led by former Chief Justice Renato Puno and other members, who are all are trustworthy),” Alvarez recalled.
In a separate interview on GMA Integrated News, he said he is planning to file a petition before the Supreme Court to question the ongoing PI.
Senator Imee Marcos also said on Friday, January 26, 2024, that his cousin is “definitely” behind the PI.
In a virtual press conference, Marcos said Romualdez’s office offered a P20 million reward per legislative district in exchange for signatures in support of the PI.
"Definitely, opisina niya ang nag-alok ng P20 million kada distrito. Definitely, nanggaling sa kanila 'yung very attenuated timeline na July 9… tapos na ang lahat, at ibibigay nila nang buong-buo itong economic provisions, etc. So, definitely, that derived from his office with very clear numbers identifying the staff members and attorneys involved," she said.
(Definitely, his office offered P20 million per district. Definitely, the very attenuated timeline of July 9 came from them... everything is over, and they will fully provide these economic provisions, etc.)
Romualdez, in a press conference, also on Friday, January 26, denied Marcos’ claims.
"Maraming Marites (gossipers) diyan sa Senate (There’s a lot of gossipers at the Senate). All speculation," he said.
Romualdez urged the Senate to focus on their job, particularly to approve the administration’s priority legislation instead of criticizing the House of Representatives. RGL WITH REPORTS FROM SNS