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PIA Press Release
2006/10/26

Commentary: Cha-cha drive still alive

By Renee De Guzman

San Fernando City, La Union (26 October) -- The Supreme Court’s landmark decision to reject Charter Change through people’s initiative is a a sign that the democratic Republic system is ascendant in the Philippines, and is a clear manifestation of political stability that will push the economy forward.

However, contrary to the expectations of the anti-Charter Change supporters, the Court’s decision did not kill or even wane the Administration’s resolve to change the Constitution even as Malacanang said it bows to the ruling.

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita during the press briefing said, “the push for major political reforms has not waned. President Arroyo still has that resolve to change the Constitution as it is part of the political reforms she wants instituted before she finishes her term in 2010.”

Meanwhile, the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) while expressing disappointment over the decision of the Tribunal, its legal group is already preparing for the next legal battle – the filing of a motion for reconsideration which should be filed by the petitioners within 15 days.

On the other hand, at the House of Representatives, the Administration allies will also map out their own battle plan for the convening of a constituent assembly even as the anti-Charter Change group are also preparing their own strategy to block the move.

In the Province of La Union, the Number 1 province in the entire country to have delivered the most number of validated signatures for the people’s initiative (40% of the 347,555 registered voters), the Court’s decision is met with sadness by many charter change supporters here. As one barangay captain lamented, "it doused off the Filipinos chance to participate in the decision making to vote or reject the parliamentary system of government in a plebiscite."

To the advocates and supporters of the people’s initiative, President Arroyo has these inspiring and assuring words: “We bow to the rule of democracy and the rule of law; and call upon the people, especially the strong and committed supporters of the people’s initiative, to join hands in supporting the close decision of the High Court. This is democracy in action and we must uphold it. I extol those who fought for the people’s initiative for their patriotism, perseverance and courage.

The great idea of Charter reform lives on and we must keep the fire burning. This is about creating a modern, working Philippines; to leave behind the degenerated system that is holding the nation back and keeping it too poor and too divided. We have a vision of having the Philippines join the ranks of first world nations by 2020 and a modern, more cohesive and more accountable political structure is key to achieving that goal. We live it now to the concerned institutions as to how we can keep the dreams of the people ascendant and heed the imperatives of change.” (PIA La Union) [top]

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