Bishop urges lawmakers to withdraw support from charter change

February 15, 2024 - 8:50 AM
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Fr. Antonio Labiao and Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of Caritas Philippines (fourth and fifth from left, front row) during the launching of “Koalisyon Laban sa ChaCha” in Manila on Feb. 14, 2024. (CBCP News)

A Catholic bishop has challenged the country’s lawmakers to tackle corruption and political dynasties — if only to promote economic development.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos said politicians have plenty of rhetoric about social ills and stressed that now is the time for concrete action to combat these problems.

“The root cause of our problems is really corruption, and our political system bears significant responsibility to it,” said Alminaza, who is also the vice president of Caritas Philippines.

He made the statement during the launch of a coalition of multi-sectoral groups against the renewed push for charter change in Manila on Wednesday.

The bishop pleaded with lawmakers to withdraw support for the moves to revise the 1986 Constitution, saying its current push through the supposed “people’s initiative” was questionable from the start.

At a Senate hearing yesterday, it was disclosed that the group behind the controversial people’s initiative efforts to revise the 1987 Constitution has no existing registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

“It is very consistent with what we are saying, that the process is not transparent. If the motive is very righteous, with this, it has been betrayed since the one pushing for it is not legitimate,” Alminaza said.

“The best and most decent response they (lawmakers) can have is to withdraw their support to the people’s initiative,” said Alminaza.

Dubbed as “Koalisyon Laban sa ChaCha,” the group, composed of various religious groups and civil society organizations, asserted that charter change is not the solution to the country’s problems.

“The country is sick not because of the Constitution but because of bad self-serving governance and social injustice,” it said.

“Our Constitution is robust but not fully implemented and completed with the necessary implementing laws,” the coalition also said.