‘Cha-cha dead under GMA watch’

By Aurea Calica
Sunday, August 24, 2008

No matter how good it should be for peace and development especially of the economy, moves on Charter change die a natural death under the Arroyo administration apparently because of its unpopularity – and  senators are advising Malacañang never to revive the issue again before 2010.

Senators Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero expressed belief Cha-cha had always been dead under President Arroyo’s watch even as they acknowledged the importance of having the Constitution amended for the country’s development.

“It must no longer be resurrected,” Legarda said.

Escudero, who earlier described the Palace’s latest call for Cha-cha as a diversionary tactic with its botched peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said Cha-cha moves could only go as far as debates and consultations so that people would become aware of it once pushed after 2010.

Revising the Constitution was needed to implement the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain that was supposed to be signed by the government with the MILF.

But senators, the business sector, the Catholic Church, former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos as well as other groups have all opposed the move citing the Arroyo government’s lack of credibility.

In particular, they said the President and her allies might only extend their term of office by changing the country’s Charter.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr., whose Joint Resolution No. 10 was backed by the Palace for the establishment of a federal system of government, said he would just continue with his advocacy, believing that giving regions, especially Mindanao greater autonomy, would be better for the country.

“I don’t give a damn about GMA’s (President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) Cha-cha. I fight for revising Constitution for federalism,” Pimentel said.

He said his resolution could not be used to extend anybody’s term because it had safeguards and though it sought Congress to convene as a constituent assembly, the two chambers should vote separately on provisions to be amended. This way, the allies of the Palace in the House of Representatives would not be able to flex muscles and insist on the changes they would want being higher in number.

Pimentel lamented that the issue on Cha-cha would always have to take a back seat because the current administration could not be trusted. He said the federalism issue should be separated from the MOA-AD earlier entered into by the government with the MILF.

Malacañang announced it would continue to push for Cha-cha and federalism for the sake of peace in Mindanao.

Senate President Manuel Villar Jr. had earlier expressed belief the people surrounding Mrs. Arroyo would not stop in their efforts to amend the Charter so they could perpetuate themselves in power.

“It’s a big group, it’s not just the President. Of course, there are people around her who have this belief and we cannot stop them from advising the President not to step down in 2010 because they don’t want to, ” Villar said.

Villar said Joint Resolution No. 10 that he and other senators signed was only meant to discuss the possible establishment of a federal system of government and in no way did it express a Senate position because it had not even been tackled in the committee.

Legarda scored the deceit seemingly employed by the government in its recent push for Cha-cha, citing a number of promises it made to the MILF like the MOA was a “done deal” when in fact, it would need Congress approval, an enabling law and a constituent assembly and finally, the approval of the people through a plebiscite in 12 months.(PhilStar)


My Take:

Chacha is not dead.  The only dead is tha pgma version of it.  Whoever will succeed la gloria will still be pushing for it.  Its a Philippine politician thing.

They will change the charter without even putting into place first  the needed mechanism to the effective reform that would follow immediately after the chacha.  They would change the charter because of their politicians mindset that a mere change to the constitution is a reform itself.

Stupid stupid stupid!

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