Senators differ in position in renaming the country ‘Maharlika’ » Manila Bulletin News

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Senators differ in position in renaming the country ‘Maharlika’

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By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Two of President Duterte’s allies in Senate were cold to the proposal of changing the name of the Philippines to “Maharlika.”

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said Duterte merely floated an “idea” when he recalled former President Ferdinand Marcos’ proposal of renaming the country.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Panfilo Lacson

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Panfilo Lacson

Sotto, who had once pushed to revise parts of the country’s National Anthem “Lupang Hinirang”, said changing the Philippines’ name may result in “too many” implications, including the revision in the 1987 Constitution.

“[It is] Just an idea. [It has] Too many implications,” the Senate chief told reporters in a text message Tuesday when asked to comment on the matter.

“Constitutional change for one,” Sotto said.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, meanwhile, said he needed time to study the proposed renaming of the country’s name.

“[I] Need time to study the proposal. This is something new coming from the President. We also need to know the real meaning of the word ‘maharlika’,” Pimentel said in a separate text message.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, on the other hand, said he is open to supporting Duterte in his plan to the rename the country as “Maharlika” as he shared the Chief Executive’s belief that its current name only reminds Filipinos of the Spanish colonizers.

“I may have to agree with PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) on the possibility to change our country’s name. Philippines will always remind us of King Philip II of Spain, our colonizer for three centuries,” he said in a statement.

“While the colonization brought out the best in our ancestors and taught us their valiance and heroism, those 300 years also influenced our culture and attitude as a people and which we cannot claim as originally our own,” he added.

For Lacson, “Maharlika” sounds more Filipino, in spite of the issues during Marcos administration.

“Without the politics involved, Maharlika sounds good to me as well,” he said.

Duterte, in a speech during the distribution of certificates of land ownership award in Maguindanao Monday, said he might change the Philippines’ name “someday” to Maharlika, as pushed by the late strongman.

He agreed with Marcos that Maharlika was a better fit for country due to its Malay origin

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