Hands off the Constitution, lawmakers told

January 20, 2021 - 11:00 AM
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Lawmakers attend a special session of the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Oct. 13, 2020. (House of Representatives/Released)

A council of lay Catholic organizations called for the Constitution to be left alone, urging lawmakers to instead deal with issues surrounding the pandemic.

Rouquel Ponte, president of the Council of the Laity of the Philippines, said it is not the opportune time to deal with Charter change.

Rather than tinkering with the Constitution, he asked Congress to pass measures to help millions of Filipinos suffering from lack of food, shelter, jobs, education and a comprehensive health care system.

“This is our priority,” Ponte said. “We call on our lawmakers: address the needs of the people now. They need your attention.”

“The whole exercise posed by the resolutions advocating for Charter change is a sheer waste of our precious time, energy, effort and money,” he said.

The organization suspects there may be political reasons in the fresh move to revise the Constitution.

“With the 2022 elections just about a year and a half away, who will not suspect other underlying political motivations?” Ponte said.

“We cry out in a loud and categorical manner that we oppose these moves,” he added.

The lay arm of the bishops’ Commission on the Laity also called on the public to be vigilant on the process of amending the Charter.

Retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, earlier said that concerns against Charter change are matters of trust.

“The biggest issue is trust. It is very difficult to trust these congressmen and President Duterte that it will just be about the economic provisions,” Bacani said over Radio Veritas.

The House of Representatives earlier resumed its debates on Charter change, but legislators allayed that Congress will touch on the political provisions in the Constitution.

They assured that discussions will only be on proposed amendments in the Charter’s economic provisions.