After 2010: Yes to Cha-Cha

Say YES to charter change (Cha-Cha) but after 2010 elections. Yes to Cha-Cha but it must not be through Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) but through Constitutional Convention (Con-Con).

The desire to change the constitution is not new nor unique to the Arroyo administration.

During the Ramos administration, there was attempts to amend the constitution. It the movement was resurrected with different approach during the short-lived Estrada administration.

When President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo reign in Malacanang, there were several administration-sponsored attempts for Cha-Cha but none got popular support.

Several months ago, the opposition-led Philippine Senate initiated to change the 1987 Philippine Constitution, specifically to give way for federal system. But the plan was later shelved.

Recently, when pro-administration dominated House of Representatives renew the plan to change the constitution through constituent assembly (converting the congress into constituent assembly), people began to suspect.

The suspicion is reasonable. The initiative came after the controversial prayer of Press Secretary Jesus Dureza which suggest about extension of terms of President Arroyo.

Now, common conclusions say that the recent attempt to change the constitution is directed to extend the Arroyo presidency. This angered many sectors including the the 2010 presidential aspirants.

The so called big rally in Makati against Cha-Cha illustrated that the Filipino people are against with the move (because of the suspicion).

In today’s headline of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Catholic Bishops urge the proponents of Cha-Cha to shelve the plan and do it after 2010.

I agree with the Bishops. Let us talk about amendments of the constitution after 2010.

Just for today, it better that we focus on how we face the challand effects of global financial crisis.

SWS: Most Pinoys against Cha-Cha

In a recent SWS survey, most Filipinos are not in favor of changing the constitution to extend terms  of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Who wants to see Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in Malacanang premises beyond 2010?

In a recent SWS survey, most Filipinos are not in favor of changing the constitution to extend term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Obviously, the president’s men. No wonder, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza, prayed for it.

Obviously, the president’s son. No wonder, Rep. Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo personally initiated signature drive to amend the Constitution through a constituent assembly (Con-Ass).

But the Filipino nation has spoken in a recent SWS survey. According to the survey, 64% of the respondents are against GMA’s term extension while 15% are in favor and 21% are still undecided.

No to Cha-Cha

For Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, the charter change this time is an “impossible dream”.

Although the palace denies reports on plans for extending terms, its allies are obviously working towards term extension.

There is a huge public distrust on the recent movement to change the constitution. This is an indication the people are just waiting for 2010 so that GMA will step down.

I agree with Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile. I am certain that the move for Constituent Assembly will not gain strenght nor prosper. Considering the JDV’s revealation, and the pending impeachment complaint, there is more likely a sudden dramatic political change.

Let’s stay awake and watch them play!

Is it time to Cha-Cha?

For several times, we rejected the proposal to amend our constitution out of fears of ‘hidden motives’ that are already widely discussed. Whether the ‘fears’ had basis or not, those were not important. The past proposals were all archived for ‘good’.

During the Ramos administration (in 1997), we witnessed the first attempt to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution. The proposed amendments became very popular as Charter Change or “Cha-Cha.” Criticism stormed the proposal. It never prospered, of course.

Ousted president, Joseph Estrada had also his own version of Cha-Cha called Constitutional Correction for Development (CONCORD). Again, it never got much support. Unlike the previous proposal, CONCORD was more attractive because of the keyword, “economy”.

In 2005, then Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. led several congressmen in pursuing a move to amend the Constitution through the Constituent Assembly. Once again, criticism rained the proposal. On December 2006, de Venecia declared, “Con-ass [constituent assembly] initiative is now dead.” [1]

In April 2008, 11 Senators (It increases to 16.) backed Joint Resolution No. 10 – a new tune of old Cha-Cha. The lower house expressed support as long as the change is after 2010. The keyword “Federalism” excites many.

Now, Cha-Cha is no longer danced – it becomes talk of the town. Is this the right time to Cha-Cha?

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