Groups declare all-out war vs. Cha-cha, PNoy’s term extension

Aug. 21, 2014

DAVAO CITY— Militant partylist representatives and Catholic Church leaders vowed they will block moves by allies of President Benigno Aquino III at the Lower House who are seeking Constitutional amendments.

“We must defeat the Liberal Party’s self-serving move because it would worsen the already sorry state of the country. The Aquino government should heed the voice of the people and junk Cha-cha (charter change),” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said in a statement.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte will reportedly file House Joint Resolution No. 1 on August 26 to amend the Constitution lifting foreign equity limits in investment areas.

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Teddy Ridon said that the seven-member Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives will go “all out to block all efforts for charter change (cha-cha) – whether economic or political in nature – especially in light of the President’s expressed desire to lift constitutional term limits and clip the Judiciary’s power.”

“We need to do whatever we can to stop the passage of HJR 1, especially as opening the Constitution to amendments will open the floodgates to self-serving revisions such as the lifting of term limits,” Ridon said.

“What’s more troubling is if HJR 1 passes, it will set a precedent for the piece-meal amendment of the Constitution. Any lawmaker with vested interest or direct orders from the President could simply file a joint resolution to reduce the Judiciary’s power, for example, or even remove essential portions of the Constitution, like provisions on political dynasties,” Ridon added.

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, there is “zero probability that the Church will support the government’s fresh push for Charter change.”

In an emailed statement, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, head of CBCP, said constitutional amendments are justified only when they “redound to the benefit of the nation and address long-festering problems arising out of ambiguities in the Constitution.”

Villegas said the Roman Catholic Church will oppose the move to amend the Constitution “if it is premised on the wrong reasons.”

Former CBCP President retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz said the revival of Charter-change is suggested by those who share President Aquino’s “power and blessings.”

“Aquino’s allies want another term for him so they can continue their stay in their beneficial offices,” said Cruz, who is also archbishop emeritus of Lingayen-Dagupan.(Mart D. Sambalud/

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