Philippines: Politicians rush to change the Constitution

Since July of last year, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has endorsed the proposal to change the 1987 Constitution. The charter change or Cha-Cha drive has divided the nation. On one side, people are supporting Cha-Cha because they seek genuine and much-needed reforms in the government. On the other hand, Cha-Cha is believed to be a survival strategy of the President who is still facing allegations of poll fraud and corruption.

After defeating the second impeachment complaint against the President, the pro-administration bloc in Congress is actively pursuing Cha-Cha. Meanwhile, a group (perceived to be close to the President) which claims to have gathered almost ten million signatures is asking the Supreme Court to allow the revision of the Constitution.

RG Cruz, a journalist-blogger, is surprised why the House of Representatives swiftly approved a committee report endorsing Cha-Cha through a constituent assembly:

“Boy, do those Congressmen never fail to surprise me. And they did so in under one minute. One minute of deliberations on committee report 1230. 3 hours of debates on the title of 1230 and why they approved it in under one minute.”

Alleba Politics instructs government agencies to protect the sanctity of the People’s Initiative as one mode to change the Constitution. Snow World is supportive of Cha-Cha but rejects the people’s initiative.

Pinoy insight mentions the national survey which shows that the people do not want to change the Constitution. The Citizen on Mars admits having little knowledge on the advantages and disadvantages of Cha-Cha but agrees to the plan to adopt the parliamentary form of government.

Philippine Commentary hints that the Chief Justice may support the Cha-Cha especially if we remember that he once penned a decision recognizing the adequacy of the law which permits Cha-Cha through people’s initiative.

The blogger also mentioned the contentious provision of the 1987 Constitution outlining the mechanism on how amendments can be effected. Should the two Houses of Congress vote separately or as one group?

Newsstand provides a lucid analysis on the ‘gameplan’ of the government in advancing the Cha-Cha.

Our Times is with a group actively opposing Cha-Cha. This blog gives a regular update on the campaign to defeat the ‘Cha-Cha train.’ The following is an excerpt from one of its press statements:

“It goes against all reasonable standards of public morality that those who are railroading this ‘fastbreak chacha’ are the very same ones who will most benefit from the proposed changes that only increase the power of those who already rule the country. This makes the whole exercise patently self-serving.”

Solar power explains why one provision in the Cha-Cha, the foreign ownership of media, is objectionable:

“In the context of mass media, it is possible that foreign investors would only take advantage of cheap and docile Filipino labor and, as in the practice of the U.S. colonizers, provide canned media content that has little regard for the information needs of Filipinos.”

Counsels for the Defense of Liberties filed a petition to reject Cha-Cha.

Sigaw ng Bayan, the group which is advocating Cha-Cha.

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