Cordillera youth decry PDuterte’s Charter change


BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera chapter of youth group Anakbayan condemned the railroading of House Concurrent Resolution No. 9 that gives authority to Congress to convene as a constituent assembly and amend the three-decade old Philippine constitution saying that such move is a prelude to the installation of a full Duterte dictatorship.

Grooming a Marcosian Dictator

Anakbayan cited the proposed provision granting Rodrigo Duterte the executive and legislative powers as both the president and Prime Minister immediately after its ratification as a way of consolidating political power.

As transitory provision, the PDP-Laban draft states “the incumbent President shall exercise all the powers and functions of the head of state and head of government under this Federal Constitution until the election of the next President and Prime Minister in May 2022.”

This places Duterte to the highest seat of legislature, aside from his maintained power to oversee the executive branch. The legislative branch has power to create laws and allocate the budget of the government.

“By placing the parliament or the former congress under his iron fist, he also places himself to the level of an absolute dictator like Ferdinand Marcos while effectively eroding check-and-balances in the government,” said Luke Bagangan, Anakbayan Cordillera secretary general.

In a statement, Anakbayan said that the charter change is the administration’s ultimate resort in the face of growing dissent and discontent among the public following the chain of events such as the extension of martial law in Mindanao, rampant extra-judicial killings, attack on institutions like the media, and the skyrocketing of prices due to the tax reform.

“Duterte is clearly fearing his eventual downfall as public spite takes form in massive protests in social media and in the streets. What he ought to do now is consolidate power, install himself as a full-fledged tyrant, and terrorize the people” Bagangan added.

Self-centered backing

Meanwhile, the group hit the congress for “desperately putting opportunist provisions in the draft constitution to serve their own interests.”

Bagangan claimed both the House of Representatives and Senate are mere rubberstamps of the president as allies are known to receive special privileges in funding and executive influences.

“It’s no surprise to see power-hungry lawmakers pursue changes in the constitution as such amendments equate to more consolidation of their power and even term extension,” said Bagangan.

On Jan 3, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez floated term extension and no-election scenario in 2019 to pave way to the transition to federal government proposed in the draft constitution.

This move was vocally backed by several PDP-Laban members and affiliates, including Southern Leyte Representative and House Committee on Constitutional Amendments Chairperson Roger Mercado.

In addition, the said ruling party is pushing to institutionalize a 5-year term for lawmakers. The president may also run for another term based on their proposed amendment.

US hand at work

The group also lashed at the United States government for meddling with the charter change as some amendments will serve its economic interests in the country.

Bagangan cited the proposal for the removal of several investment restrictions, including the 30% foreign ownership restriction on businesses, has always been a lobbying call of the said country.

“The US favors Duterte tyrannical government as long as it subscribes to their economic and political agenda of removing investment and trade restrictions, plunder of countries’ resources, imposition of cheap labor and heavier taxes on consumption goods, and prevention of national industrialization and land reform,” added Bagangan.

Anakbayan further claimed that indigenous peoples will gravely be affected by such proposed relaxation of foreign investment policy as big corporations will surely pursue operations in resources-rich indigenous peoples’ lands.

“This means greater militarization in indigenous lands which entails more cases of harassment, killings, bombings as seen in the long history of struggle for the defense of land by the indigenous peoples,” Bagangan lamented.

“We call on all Filipino youth and people to fight and eventually overthrow the US-Duterte regime of terror and greed, along with the entire putrid system of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, and feudalism enslaving the people,” Bagangan ended.#


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