Salceda confident 'cha-cha' will pass incoming Congress

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 18) — A seasoned lawmaker on Thursday expressed confidence that constitutional change will be pushed in the 18th Congress, citing the super majority in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Albay Second District Representative Joey Salceda, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, said the amendment of the 1987 Constitution will be among the priorities of the House, along with other economic bills such as the proposed Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities or Trabaho bill, Public Service Act, and liberalization of retail trade, among others.

"I'm really sure, with super majority in the Senate, [President Rodrigo Duterte's] 87 percent approval rating, and a Dutere super coalition in the House, I think the people better be more participative and vigilant.." he told CNN Philippines' On The Record.

Salceda said the charter change will face less hurdle in the higher chamber as most of its members are allied with the President.

He said there are 20 senators who are supporters of the administration, compared to 13 in the 17th Congress.

"Now that we have a super majority in the Senate, dati (before) 13 lang (only), but you need 3/4, I think that the chances of having the Senate on the same platform, the probability is double than the probability before," he in a separate interview after the program.

"If the probability [in the Senate] before is 50 percent, I think the probability now is 75 percent," he added.

Salceda recalled the passage of a new constitution during the time of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, where a counterpart measure failed to hurdle the Senate.

Moves to amend the Constitution have been persistent under Duterte, who even formed a consultative committee to propose amendments to the charter.

The House, dominated by Duterte's allies, has been responsive to his plea, having passed a resolution calling on Congress to convene into a constituent assembly to propose amendments to the Constitution.

However, this lost steam at the Senate, whose 23 members opposed getting outnumbered by around 300 congressmen should they vote jointly.

Some senators have also expressed openness to amending the Constitution to give more leeway to foreign equity.

CNN Philippines' Multi-platform Writer Xave Gregorio contributed to this report.