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LIVE: House hearing on charter change

Live

The House committee on constitutional amendments reopens its hearings on charter change on Wednesday, January 13. This is the lower chamber's opening salvo for 2021, as it resumes session amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This is also the latest effort to change the 34-year-old charter during President Rodrigo Duterte's term. (READ: What you need to know about the pre-2022 push for charter change)

Committee chair Ako Bicol Representative Alfredo Garbin Jr and House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco have said lawmakers would only focus on changing economic provisions. In a statement on Sunday, January 10, Velasco said the renewed push seeks to amend the "restrictive" economic provisions in the 1987 Constitution to address the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

But Duterte himself wants the Constitution amended not with COVID-19 in mind, but to intensify his crackdown on leftist party-list groups he has long accused of acting as fronts for communist rebels. While lawmakers may claim they would only tackle the economic provisions, they have the power to propose changes to any parts of the Constitution once charter change efforts are in full swing in Congress.

There are at least 8 measures filed in the House seeking to amend the Constitution, including Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2 authored by Velasco himself. The resolution would call both the House and the Senate to convene into a Constituent Assembly or Con-Ass – one of the 3 allowed modes to change the Constitution – to amend these economic provisions.

Bookmark this page to watch the hearing at 10 am Wednesday. – Rappler.com