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PIA Press Release
2008/11/27

Commentary: Chacha, road to prosperity

By Henry S. Lagasca

San Fernando City, La Union (27 November) -- There's nothing wrong with Charter change (Chacha) per se but the sweeping 64 % of respondents in the recent Social Weather Station (SWS) survey against changes the 1987 Constitution is an indication that amending the Constitution is a divisive political issue amidst financial crisis gripping the world.

Some quarters of the opposition fears that administration lawmakers would exploit the process to extend the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

No less than the President said that she remains a strong supporter of any move to amend the Constitution, particularly on economic provisions and political structure.

Malacanang's statement said that President Arroyo will step down in 2010 and the move to amend the Constitution is intended to prepare the country economically and politically stable against the global financial crisis.

Presidential spokesman Anthony Golez said that the SWS survey was "premature" saying that the Arroyo administration is not in favor of extending the term of elective officials and allayed the fears the Charter change is being pushed to enable Ms. Arroyo to stay in power beyond 2010.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said that the President's support for Charter change is "not something new" as this has been her presidential campaign platform in 2004. He lamented that Ms. Arroyo's critics have always linked any move to amend the Constitution to her desire to extend her term of office.

The issue is up for Congress to act but opposition quarters warned that "to proceed with amending the Constitution would fuel something."

Golez is quick to say that Malacanag had nothing to do with Congress resolution to amend the Constitution.

President Arroyo made Charter change one of her key issues when she ran for president, mentioned it in her State of the Nation Address (SONA) and has campaigned for amending the Constitution.

The President who remains vocal about Chacha said that a shift to a parliamentary and federal government is "a strategic hope for change" and "focus on the need to improve our economy and our political system and putting the Filipino people on road to peace and prosperity permanently." (PIA Region 1) [top]

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