Prelate reiterates CBCP stand on Cha-cha

MANILA, August 13, 2008─Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has always been clear in its stand on charter change.

In an interview with Catholic-run Veritas 846, Pabillo said the CBCP believes any change in the constitution should be made by way of constitutional convention and not through constituent assembly as what has been proposed by the Macapagal-Arroyo administration in its desire to grant Filipino Muslims more autonomy.

“Our lawmakers have been elected to enact laws and not to alter or change the country’s constitution,” the prelate said.

Pabillo explained that with what’s happening today, it seems “unbelievable” they [lawmakers] could do their job well in so short a time.

“What kind of representation do we get should our congressmen and senators change our constitution?” the prelate asked.

He said the country and its people are simply waiting for the coming national elections in 2010.

Asked if the shift to federalism would bring peace to regions in southern Philippines, the auxiliary bishop said the Filipinos are still unaware of the merits and benefits of federalism.

He added the problems in Mindanao began when the government reported a Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain which was up for signing until the Supreme Court issued a restraining order.

“Now the government says there’s a need to amend the Philippine Constitution without appropriate consultations with the people,” the 53-year old prelate said.

He said this move to change the Constitution “may be a way to keep President Arroyo in power beyond 2010 because once you begin changing the Constitution anything can happen.”

He said the grinding poverty in the country is a serious matter “not even federalism could solve and we should be more careful in selecting our leaders because federal states will have its laws independent of each other.”

“We are not treated as matured citizens because we are never consulted,” Pabillo said.

He said the general public should benefit from the fruits of government programs if it pursues common good.

“[And] all of a sudden these issues will crop up and just be shoved into our throats,” the prelate said in Filipino. (Melo Acuna)(CBCPNews)

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