Arroyo denies railroading charter change resolution
HOUSE Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has denied that the House of Representatives railroaded the passage of the resolution suggesting amendments to the 1987 Constitution.
The Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 or the “Resolution of Both Houses Proposing the Revision of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines,” was passed on second reading during the plenary session Tuesday, December 4, just a week before the Congress will adjourn for the holidays.
Its passage came even after the Senate said it would not support the House’s proposed charter due to lack of time.
“Well, it’s part of the democratic process. There was a debate, it was voted on, we sent it to them. It’s part of the democratic process,” said Arroyo in an ambush interview on Wednesday, December 5.
According to Arroyo, it will likely be passed on third reading on Monday, December 10. The Congress’ session will adjourn for the Christmas break on December 12.
“We are able to pass it on second reading, so three days after the copy is circulated, we should be taking it up on third reading, hopefully that would be Monday,” she said.
Minority leader Danilo Suarez during the weekly press conference of the House minority bloc said it is “high time” to revisit the Constitution but he also warned against the speedy passage of the resolution.
He said the House of Representatives should look deeper into the proposal to determine whether its provisions are “sustainable” and can stand firm as the country continuously adapts to an evolving world.
In a separate statement, Buhay Party-list Rep. and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza likewise warned against the “inordinate” passage of the resolution.
“Magdahan-dahan tayo. There’s absolutely no reason to rush this very important measure that will impact all of us. Let us not be like blind cows being stampeded over a cliff,” he said.
Atienza said it is impossible to discuss the “crucial” measure in just a few session days left.
“To force the issue now would not only deprive us time to tackle other important measures, but at the same time, this would sacrifice quality study on the revisions to the Constitution,” Atienza further said, adding that the public should also be informed of the proposed charter through national debates.
Gabriela Women’s Party-list representatives Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas strongly condemned the “railroaded” approval of Resolution of Both Houses No. 15 on second reading.
They noted that the period of debate for the measure was cut short to ensure its approval Tuesday and approval on third reading before the Christmas break.
“We condemn this stubborn insistence of the House leadership to ram Chacha into our throats despite the obvious lack of public support for the measure and despite the need to legislate urgent economic measures such as significant wage hikes and repeal of Train law,” said de Jesus and Brosas in a joint statement.
For Gabriela, the proposed charter is “antidemocratic, dystopian, self-serving and anti-nationalist.”
“It removes the term limits for members of both Houses, provides for a No-election transition to a federal form of government, does not ban political dynasties, shifts the onus of promoting human rights from the State to individual citizens, and broadens the pretext for declaring martial law by adding "lawless violence" as legal basis.
It removes constitutional limits to foreign ownership of land, mass media, public utilities and other economic sectors. It waters down labor and women's rights, and creates more elbow room for capitalists to exploit human and natural resources,” they added as they call on the public to reject the proposed federal constitution.