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Too uphill a cha-cha climb

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Such a constitutional joint vote can never be approved by the Senate, mainly because it will always be outvoted.

A lot of time and public money are wasted each time the move for Charter change (cha-cha) is taken up by the House of Representatives even as the House Speaker, whoever that person is, knows that it is a comatose issue and even a dead move, even before such a move starts, since there are always two problems facing the modes of charter change in the country.

Why Congress even bothers to take up cha-cha is baffling because convincing the Senate to act on convening the constituent assembly (con-ass) in a joint session and vote, if done under separate congressional moves, will be a miracle under a democratic setup to get cha-cha going.

Even the Speaker, Gloria Arroyo, has given up the congressional fight to get cha-cha moving through a con-ass, as she hinted broadly that she will now leave the matter to the next Congress.

“We will bring it as far as we can bring it in the hope that the next Congress can continue the work,” she told reporters before the weekend.

She stressed that the proposed federal constitution is “undergoing interpellation” in the House of Representatives.

“It’s the last of President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address agenda. Everything else has already been passed. So, I guess we’ll be concentrating on that next week. Of course, we know that there will still be many steps before charter change can be finished,” she said.
Of course Speaker Arroyo knows cha-cha is as dead as a dodo, as she can’t get the cooperation of the Senate that refuses to act on the move through a con-ass.

The 1987 Charter has unwittingly been made impossible by the hand-picked and unelected delegates of the Cory Aquino charter, as these delegates rushed through it with very little thought on checking flaws before voting, the worst of which was the entry of constitutional changes that need a joint House and Senate session and joint voting for cha-cha.

Such a constitutional joint vote can never be approved by the Senate, mainly because it will always be outvoted, since there are over 200 congressmen while there are only 24 senators, sometimes even less than this number. It always loses in a joint voting.

There is hardly any doubt that the 1987 Constitution has too many flaws that cannot be corrected unless certain amendments are done.

Then, too, cha-cha is only possible as long as the proviso and measures to bring about these changes can be done through a constitutional convention whose delegates are to be voted upon by the Filipino electorate.

However, more often than not and no matter whose administration it is, the House continues to insist on the con-ass mode where members of the House and the Senate convene as a con-ass to get cha-cha going.

But despite the House getting the Senate to agree to a con-ass through separate voting, senators, throughout many different administrations, refuse to cooperate on drafting a new charter through the con-ass mode.

It should be easy enough for both houses to revise the 1987 Charter, which will allow the House and the Senate to come up with a legislative measure paving the way for the election of delegates nationwide for the purpose of changing the charter, which is another constitutional mode.

However, no matter how flawed the existing charter is, there still is a lot of resistance from the Senate members who appear to prefer staying on with the Cory Aquino charter, which was rushed and based on a false reason to pass the draft charter quickly by coming up wth the fear factor, which was the fear of armed forces ready to oust the new regime. The yellows claimed the Marcos rebels and military were going to stage yet another mutiny against the Aquino regime.

Filipinos should note that the 1987 Charter was drafted, as well as received approval from the electorate.

The people were pretty fooled by this first yellow regime, and even the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at that time claimed victory for the Cory Aquino regime with a vote of yes by 95 percent of the electorate approving the Cory Constitution. This percentage was arrived at by the then Comelec chairman in less than a day. Not credible at all.

It should also be interesting for Filipinos to realize that the Cory Constitution is about the only Charter in the world where a proviso reads that Cory Aquino is the elected president even when she was never elected as she rose to the presidency through a people’s revolt and a military coup against Marcos.

Filipinos should note that the 1987 Charter was drafted, as well as received approval from the electorate, many of whom were unaware of what they were approving. This was all done when Cory Aquino was an absolute dictator and coming up with a bogus “Freedom Constitution” which was drafted by the yellows.

Incidentally, that Freedom Constitution was never ratified by the people pertaining to the foes of the yellows and Cory and neither the rule of law was hardly followed.

Cory, who is billed as the icon of democracy and freedom, by the way, closed down an opposition newspaper, and refused to have it sold to its employees. That’s her way of respecting freedom of the press?

But that seems to be the way of political life in the Philippines which is probably the reason the nation can’t get moving no matter how many calls there are for cha-cha.

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