By Filane Mikee Cervantes

Senate President Francis Escudero (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – Leaders of the House of Representatives on Thursday said the new nationwide survey indicating majority support for amending the 1987 Constitution should prompt the Senate to pass the proposed amendments to its restrictive economic provisions.

Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. said the new Senate leadership should “listen to the people’s voice”, citing a recent poll conducted by big data research firm Tangere from May 21 to 25, which found that 57 percent of Filipinos supported the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions.

“New Senate President Francis Escudero should do what his predecessor failed to do, and they should do it as soon as possible,” Gonzales said.

The House of Representatives passed Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 7, its version of economic Charter change, in March this year.

Meanwhile, its counterpart version, RBH No. 6, is still pending in the Senate.

Gonzales said RBH No. 6 “is now in limbo” in the wake of the recent leadership shakeup in the upper chamber.

Gonzales noted that the public consultations conducted by the Senate special committee on constitutional amendments have been disrupted by the resignation of committee chairman Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who belongs to the bloc of former Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.

“We don’t know what will happen to RBH No. 6, since that resolution is authored by Senators Zubiri, Angara, and Loren Legarda, who has also resigned (from) her Senate post,” he said.

Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe said the Senate could pass RBH No. 6 shortly after the convening of the third and last regular session of the 19th Congress in July.

Dalipe, however, pointed out that the “window of opportunity” for the Senate to approve the economic Charter reforms is “fast closing”, considering that lawmakers and the public would be in campaign-election mode once candidates file their certificates of candidacy in October for the May 2025 elections.

“We won’t be able to accomplish much after that. That’s the reality of this situation,” Dalipe added.

For his part, Deputy Speaker David Suarez said the Escudero leadership “should pick up the pieces from the recent Senate ruckus” and work on the passage of RBH 6 “as early as possible.”

“So far, new Senate President Escudero has spoken on a lot of things, except the proposed economic constitutional amendments,” he said.

The Tangere survey found that six to seven in 10 respondents believed in the advantages of the amendment proposals, including the creation of more jobs (72 percent), higher economic growth (68 percent), increase in salaries and work benefits (67 percent), and decrease in the prices of goods and services (63 percent).

The survey had 1,500 mobile-based respondents.

Tangere, owned by Acquisitions Apps, Inc. is a full-service market research firm that started as an opinion poll survey before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to its website. It leverages mobile application technology, social media engagement, and big data analytics. (PNA)