Movement Against Tyranny rings Cha-Cha alarm bells

January 15, 2018 - 2:58 PM

The activist group Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) on Monday denounced the Administration’s “self-serving” moves “to fast-track Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed agenda for a shift to a federal system of government through Charter change.”

In a statement shared with media outlets, MAT described the agenda as a recipe “for term extension, enrichment and dictatorship.”

“Movement Against Tyranny is ringing the alarm bells on what is turning out to be a plot to skirt term limits and extend the terms of office of President Duterte and other incumbent public officials, enrich themselves through various perks and increased powers, and impose a one-man dictatorship by giving the President blanket executive and legislative powers during an unspecified transition period to the new federal system,” the statement read in part.

“Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez himself has admitted that by convening itself as a Constituent Assembly, Congress may postpone the 2019 elections and maintain incumbent officials in a holdover capacity until the next elections are held. We are aware that in many meetings and consultations held by Cha-cha proponents, this is a carrot that is being dangled to incumbent national and local officials, including at least 75 congressmen serving their third and last term in office.

“In addition, the PDP-Laban cha-cha proposal increases the terms of office of elected public officials to five years and prescribes a two-term presidency, in effect allowing Pres. Duterte to run again.

“Under Art. VIII Sec. 15 of the proposed Resolution of Both Houses No. 8, the salaries of the President, senators and congressmen, members of the Supreme Court and constitutional commissions are to be exempt from income taxes. Furthermore, RBH No. 8 gives Congress the power to effectively amend the protectionist economic provisions of the Constitution, opening up a whole new world of opportunities for foreign corporate lobbyists and interest groups to bribe congressmen and senators for concessions.

“Meanwhile, Section 6 of RBH No. 8 dissolves Congress and, prior to the election of the Federal Congress, grants the President Marcos-like legislative powers on top of his powers as chief executive and commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

“We are wary that the supposed shift to a federal system of government is but a pretext for what previous presidents and congressmen have been trying to do all along – skirt term limits, extend their terms of office, enrich themselves, and expand their powers.

“Thus we call on the people to be ever vigilant and oppose the insidious and self-serving agenda behind Duterte’s cha-cha,” the statement read.