ConCom proposals: A framework for further debate
by Rodrigo S. Victoria
Naval, Biliran (21 December) –- "It’s time to start the great debate on charter change" thus said by President Gloria Macapagal Aroyo (PGMA) in her State-of-the Nation’s Address (SONA) in July this year. True to her words, PGMA commissioned a 55-member Constitutional Commission (ConCom) to conduct a thorough study of the 1987 Constitution and to submit draft proposals to the President on December 15 this year.
The draft proposals will be presented to Congress for lawmakers to conduct further study and deliberations of the same before its approval..
But before any actions of the Arroyo administration started or took place relative to amending the present Constitution, some segment in society critical to the administration especially the members of the Senate oppose to change it for no valid reasons whatsoever.
These groups do not give due recognition and justice to the honest, judicious and best ideas carved out by the best and brightest men and women of unquestionable reputation and standing in Filipino community. Their actions are clear non-adherence to due process rule that democratic society must conscientiously follow in order to achieve order and progress.
The ConCom proposals are not made in such a way to insult thier intelligence nor to debase their political maturity as members of the Upper House but rather to make them proactive partners of the Arroyo administration in instituting timely and relevant changes in the country’s economic and political aspects.
If the issue on transitory provision of the draft proposals which proposes for a no election in 2007 and extending the term of office of all elected officials in 2010 is what makes Senate President Franklin Drilon to bitterly comment and for the 20 members of Con Com to submit a collective position paper opposing the same provision of the draft proposal, then their actions signify that the country’s leadership provides all its constituents the freedom to express their opinions on matter of national interest and importance.
The ideas that came out of their pronouncements are the turning point for the Filipino to make their own assessments and viewpoints on the issue of charter change via the draft proposals submitted by the ConCom.
The issue on no election in 2007 is just a tip of the iceberg of a greater debate that lies ahead and goes deeper in the hearts and minds of the Filipino people. Maybe Senate President Drilon has its own personal motives, reasons and agenda as well as each of the 20 Con Com members for opposing the transitory provision of the proposed draft.
The draft proposals made by the ConCom members are presented not only for the President to study nor only for the members of the Upper and Lower House to study further on its merits and substance but for all the Filipino people to concertedly examine if indeed the draft proposals in changing the supreme law of the land would cater to the dreams and aspirations of the people in achieving truly the desired economic take-off and political unity.
This early, many people are contemplating the idea of not holding an election in 2007 based on the experience that we have had in the 2004 elections where too much politicking cause too much division in society and likewise hinders our country’s progress and development.
Surely, the great debate on charter change will soon start not only in the halls of Congress, to each and every Filipino household but also to the daily conversations of every Filipino men and women in the streets. (PIA-Biliran) [top]