By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Neri Colmenares, the official senatorial bet of the Makabayan bloc said that going against the present bid for charter change is not simply about going against the Duterte administration’s bid for federalism but an act to protect their future
Colmenares who spoke at a forum at the University of the Philippines Baguio on October 8 said that the present proposals for charter change are not meant to improve the protection of peoples’ rights and welfare.
Colmenares said that the proposed changes in the 1987 Constitution has nothing to do with federalism but are meant to give the President dictatorial powers and advance self-serving interests of politicians. He reiterated that the existing proposals have provisions that would grant the President full control over all the branches of government and would enshrine self-serving interests such as the pork barrel allocations to congress representatives. He added that the proposals also would open up the country to foreign control and delete provisions that ensures social justice and human rights protection.
He pointed out that the Supreme Court has already ruled that the pork barrel allocation to congress representatives as unconstitutional. “Once pork barrel is enshrined in the Constitution then the SC can no longer rule against it, if this is not self-serving then what is?,” he exclaimed.
“If we allow these proposed changes in the Constitution that would sell out our national patrimony, strip us off the protection of our rights; this version of the Constitution will govern the country even after Duterte is no longer the President,” Colmenares said.
According to Colmenares there are already four proposals pending in Congress that includes Resolution No. 8 of both houses, the PDP Laban version, Concurrent Resolution No. 9 and the Concom proposal.
But just this October 2, another proposal was passed by the House Committee on Constitutional Ammendments. The said version is authored by 22 congress representatives including House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The most recent version proposed to hold the next election on the second Monday of May in 2022 under a federal government. It also included a provisions that would delete the term limit for congressmen and senators and alter the rule of succession.
Colmenares said that Article XVII Sec 4 of the proposal of the GMA group states that in case of removal or death of the President, the incumbent Senate President shall take on, practically removing the Vice President in the equation. He added that the same provision states that if the Senate President is not available the Speaker of the House will take on.
“Who is the speaker of the house at the moment? Is it not GMA?” he said.
Colmenares said that the 1987 Constitution is not perfect but the existing proposals will not change it for the better. “What kind of Constitution would we want our children and grandchildren inherit, the kind that enshrines dictatorial powers and self-serving interests of politicians, I believe not,” he said.
Colmenares said that going against the present cha-cha bid will protect the future of the youth and the next generation. # nordis.net