Press Release
July 19, 2020

Drilon to LGUs: No need to dance Cha-cha; SC ruling on higher IRA for LGUs cannot be reversed or set aside by Congress or executive

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon expressed readiness to block fresh attempts to push Charter Change (Cha-cha) in Congress amid a pandemic that has infected over 65,000 Filipinos, left over five million in the country out of work and crippled the economy.

"Ang kailangan natin ngayon ay pagkain hindi sayaw na Cha-cha. Yung walang hanap-buhay ang malaking problema ng bansa ngayon. Kaya dapat i-lockdown na ang Cha-cha na ito dahil masyadong divisive," Drilon said in an interview over radio station DzBB on Sunday.

Drilon believes that the real motive behind fresh attempts to revive Cha-cha is to postpone the 2022 national and local elections and remove politicians' term limit.

"Ako ay may tiwala sa ating kasamahan na makikita nila na hindi para sa kapakanan ng bayan ito. Haharangin ito sa Senado," Drilon added. "The chance of it being passed in the Senate is very small. We in the minority are ready to fight it."

Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said that Cha-cha is not among the priorities of the Senate.

Drilon said the local government units should not be worried about their higher IRAs, saying that the Executive nor Congress cannot set aside nor revise the ruling of the Supreme Court in the Mandanas case in 2019.

Last week, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said that the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) had passed a resolution seeking the Charter amendments purportedly to institutionalize the Mandanas ruling of the Supreme Court and lift the restrictions on foreign investment.

Drilon, a veteran lawmaker and a former justice secretary, however, said there is no need to institutionalize the so-called Mandanas ruling as he explained that the ruling of the Supreme Court that the"just share" of local government units under the Constitution should be computed and sourced from all national taxes and not just from the national internal revenue taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue cannot be disregarded nor changed by the executive nor Congress.

"The interpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court cannot be repealed or revised by Congress. Under our system, the interpretation of the Supreme Court as to what the Constitution means is supreme and cannot be revised," Drilon said.

"When the Supreme Court ruled that the 'just share' of the LGUs under the Constitutions means all taxes collected by the state, then the higher IRAs for LGUs must be implemented and Congress nor the executive cannot disregard it. Therefore, there is no need for institutionalization of the decision, because it is already institutionalized," he stressed.

"Yung sinasabing pag-i-instutionalize ay rason lamang iyan na ginagamit dahilan sa kahit hindi natin institutionalize iyan, iyan ay institutionalized na dahilan sa decision ng Korte Suprema," he added.

Pursuant to the ruling of the Supreme Court, the higher IRA for LGUs is set to take effect three years after the promulgation of the decision. The Department of Budget and Management in news reports said the higher IRA for LGUs will take effect in 2022, Drilon noted.

The minority leader also said that the objective of removing restrictions on foreign investment, something that he supports, could be achieved by way of legislation.

He cited, for instance, the various economic laws in the past Congresses, including the Cabotage Law that allows entry of foreign cargo vessels to call at multiple ports, and Republic Act 10641 that allowed the full entry of foreign banks in the country. In the 18thCongress, he has authored twin economic bills: the amendments to the Public Service Law and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act.

"Huwag na po tayong sumayaw ng Cha-cha. It can be done through legislation and we will do it in the Senate,"Drilon said.

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