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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Thursday’s Bits and Bites

President Arroyo revoked yesterday EO 464 issued in September 2005. Executive Order 464 barred government officials from testifying to investigations without the President’s permission. Last week the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) asked the President to abolish the controversial order. I’m grateful but I still doubt there is a free flow of truths after this.

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