CBCP keeps eye on Cha-cha

MANILA, August 14, 2008— The leadership of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is keeping a close eye on the Arroyo government’s bid for Charter change.

The CBCP has no stand yet over the Arroyo’s sudden push for a federal form of government two years after the Supreme Court shot down a “people’s initiative” to amend the Constitution.

But Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez who once said “yes” to Constitutional amendments only after Arroyo’s term ends in 2010 called for vigilance anew amidst Arroyo’s abrupt support for a joint resolution at the Senate that called for the creation of 11 federal states in the country.

He said the Church would want to lead the flock in maintaining vigilance to ensure all things are rightly done for Cha-cha.

“That’s always the stand of the church (in knowing the truth). We will find out what’s really the motive behind all these, if it will bring good to the people or not,” said Iñiguez, who also chairs the CBCP’s Committee on Public Affairs.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza yesterday said it is all systems go for the move to amend the 1987 Constitution in a bid to bring lasting peace in Mindanao.

The announcement came at the heels of an earlier pronouncement by President Arroyo herself that her administration is very supportive of the possible shift to federalism.

It may be recalled that back in December 2006, the CBCP had actively campaign against the government’s “hasty moves” to amend the Charter.

Asked if there is a possibility that the CBCP will again call for a prayer rally much like they did in Luneta almost two years ago, Iñiguez refused to comment.

“The reason why the Church opposed Cha-cha before was because there were ulterior motives behind the moves. Now that it is being brought up again, we have to see the real motive behind it,” he said in Filipino.

Iñiguez, however, said the Catholic Church will not be a “stumbling block” for the government in its moves to change the Charter.

“There is no such thing as a perfect law. Let us see. If it is for the good of the people, why go against it? But if it is not, then that’s the time we have to speak out,” he added. (Roy Lagarde)(CBCPNews)

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