Carlo's Think Pieces

Reflections of a Filipino in the Netherlands

Discussions on pro-people Consti Revisions should start now

Posted by butalidnl on 15 September 2006

The political opposition in the Philippines has so far held to the position that charter change under GMA’s presidency is not desirable. I agree, strictly speaking, since GMA and her allies will always use any change in the constitution to their own purposes. However, at the same time, we should also note that this position is not an excuse just to postpone our own discussions re the constitutional changes that we would want. I feel that now is the right time to start. Why?

To start with, ChaCha under GMA is now mainly a matter of the traditional opposition vs GMA. The task of progressive groups should now be to prepare the people for the tasks ahead – i.e. what to do after the GMA ChaCha campaign fails. One of these tasks would be to push for structural reforms thru amending the constitution. After all, if the opposition kills GMA’s ChaCha there remains the question of whether we want or need to change the constitution at all. And the trapos are sure to want to maintain the status quo. We should now prepare the ground for real reforms in the Phil. political system – we should specify what changes are needed, and why.

Second, the 2007 elections are approaching, and in theory there will still be time to push for an election of delegates for a constitutional convention simultaneous with the regular elections. Thus, if we call for a concon to be formed in 2007, we may even excite people enough to support it.

Also, the opposition in general have so far been working on a negative campaign – “oust GMA”, “oppose GMA’s ChaCha” etc. A call for systemic change thru a pro-people constitution would change our stance to a positive campaign. Who knows? This may just be the nudge to get bigger parts of the population moving. Of course, as part of the constitutional change discussion is the call for immediate implementation of the parliamentary government, with an immediate election of a ceremonial president.


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