Congress may ask President to disclose foreign loan papers: Concom

MANILA The Congress may request the President to disclose documents and papers on foreign loans under the proposed federal Constitution being drafted by the Consultative Committee (Concom) tasked by President Rodrigo R. Duterte to review the Constitution.

This provision was among the revisions in the Article on the Executive Branch approved by the Concom in an en banc session on Tuesday, Concom member and former associate justice Antonio Eduardo Nachura said Wednesday.

It is really to acknowledge that it is Congress that has the power of the purse. So that when the President enters into foreign loans, that will of course [require] repayment through the use of money of the Philippine government, Nachura said

Pag nag-nenegotiate pa lang (When negotiating) for such a loan, the Congress will be consulted and Congress may ask, Mr. President tingnan nga namin ang mga dokumento dito (let’s see these documents), he added.

Nachura said that the Congress can request for these loan papers from negotiation up to approval.

He pointed out that the Congress would already have known that a loan is being negotiated.

I would say that Congress would have known that the loan was being negotiated and therefore, pag inapprove na at wala silang ginawa (if it is approved and they didn’t do anything) before that then they must have consented at least, Nachura said.

Below is a comparison of Section 20 in the 1987 Constitution and in the Concom’s proposed federal Constitution:

The 1987 Constitution reads:

Section 20. The President may contract or guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines with the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law. The Monetary Board shall, within thirty days from the end of every quarter of the calendar year, submit to the Congress a complete report of its decision on applications for loans to be contracted or guaranteed by the Government or government-owned and controlled corporations which would have the effect of increasing the foreign debt, and containing other matters as may be provided by law.

The Concom’s proposed amendment reads:

Section 20. The President may contract or guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines with the prior concurrence of the Monetary Board, and subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.

The Monetary Board shall, within thirty days from the end of every quarter of the calendar year, submit to the Congress a complete report of its decision on applications for loans to be contracted or guaranteed by the Government or government-owned and controlled corporations which would have the effect of increasing the foreign debt, and containing other matters as may be provided by law.

When requested by Congress, the President shall submit to the Senate or the House of Representatives, or any of its committees, all documents and papers relative to such foreign loans (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency