Editorial: Do we need a new Constitution?


Last Friday the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes joint with Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation called a Regional Consultative Hearing here in Baguio. It was said that this consultation was the last of the series of consultations on whether to propose amendments or revise the present 1987 Constitution of the Philippines.

If we had been following the discussions on media about ‘con-con’ or ‘con-ass’, it can be surmised as a grand show exposing an old script with added props and more tinsel and louder music… a circus by politicians exhibiting their greed and acts to mislead the Filipino citizens into supporting a charter change. A charter change to further cement the institutionalization of graft and corruption, of this offensive and very oppressive government system that squeezes the ordinary Filipino dry of the resources and fruits of their hard work.

Progressive sectors have become more vocal to point out that proposed amendments or proposed revisions to the Constitution mean to further neo liberalization by the removal of protective provisions over the economic sources of the people like opening ownership of public utilities and land to foreigners, lengthening the tenure of office for the president the legislators, the increase of taxes and the easier access to privatizing the people’s common resources, and insertions to the Bill of Rights, the shift from a centralized government to a federal form of government as advocated by the president. And, why the rush of the present administration to change the 1987 constitution?

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno has said that amending the 1987 Constitution through a constitutional convention can cost a billion pesos. Would not one rather have the education of the Filipino youth be supported by that billion of pesos? On the news too, Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay warned against Charter change recalling that the 1973 Constitution under the Marcos administration promised improvement of lives but resulted in the “plunder of the nation.”

In the application of Law and Order; why is there an absence of the respect for the rights of ordinary civilians evidenced in all the victims of extra-judicial killings whether in the name of the “War on drugs” or not? Why the noticeable penchant of filling trumped-up charges, and manufacturing of evidence to support illegal arrests and other extra-judicial cases? Why the sloppy evidence gathering displayed by the so-called “country’s finest”? Why do government planes and troopers bomb and attack civilian villages and peaceful forests? therefore forcing evacuations of poor peasant and indigenous communities from their farms and homes and not allow them to go back when they safely can?

Why do judicial minions have to define “terrorism or terrorists” by authoring a list (an order of battle?) of more than 600 Filipino citizens who are mostly human rights defenders, development workers and activists of good standing (and even if they have included a smattering number of accused AFP organized para military bandits)? Even if, as lawyers, they actually know that the Communist Party of the Philippines, by national or international law, is a legitimate and legal organization with rights like the PDP-Laban, the Liberal Party and the Nationalista Party? And, also that the source of the resent acts of terrorism (bombings, EJKs, unlawful arrests, etc.) can only be done and afforded by parties in government using government funds?

If with impunity an administration dares to do all these, it would only need a new constitution to legalize these actions, and to freely sell the country and its people to rich investors and imperialist colonizers. Do we like this to happen? Again? # nordis.net


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