Saturday, July 3, 2010

Gloria true to shameless form in filing Cha-cha — JV


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Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo’s bid to revive moves to tinker with the Constitution by filing a bill for Charter change (Cha-cha) was a shameless move, San Juan City Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said yesterday.

“It is as if her reign for nine years was not enough. GMA’s shameless move for Charter change only validates her real intention of seeking a House seat,” Ejercito said.

“She is hitting two birds with one stone with that resolution, to try and perpetuate herself in power as prime minister and to avoid prosecution from alleged corruption crimes,” he explained.

Nevertheless, Ejercito said Arroyo’s move did not come as a surprise.

“What can we expect from someone who has been avoiding conviction from corruption for nine years? GMA has shown once again how discontented and hungry for power she is,” the lone district representative added.

Instead of using her position in the House for Cha-cha, Ejercito said Arroyo should divert focus on explaining her involvement in anomalies during her term.

“She cannot hide for long behind Constitutional protection. I challenge her to face bravely her involvement in corruption issues,” he said.

Arroyo’s Cha-cha bill also came under fire from Catholic prelates.

“It is beyond common sense that on the first day of her incumbency she would file a resolution before the House of Representatives for a Charter change,” this was according to Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz.

The prelate, in an article posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Web site also said, “The only

conclusion that can be logically drawn from this audacity par excellence is that the lady simply cannot let go of power and cannot be either calmed or cooled.”

The staunch critic of Arroyo, however, noted that he was no longer surprised with the move since there were talks before that Arroyo is eyeing the prime minister post once country will have a parliamentary form of government.

“The truth of the matter is that this plan is not actually new and only strange that it would be her first act supported even by a son before the legislature,” he said.

For Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the filing of the resolution to amend the constitution is very untimely.

“This is not yet the time to talk about that. There is a need to bolster the trust of the people in the government first before we can talk about Cha-cha,” he said, in an interview over RadioVeritas 846.

On the other hand, constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas supported Pabillo’s statement saying that any move for charter change should be done in 2011.

“I would say that the earliest should be 2011 because involving getting a constitutional convention would mean another national election and we just had an election recently. It can be very expensive process plus people are still distracted,” he said.

On Thursday, a day after her inauguration as Pampanga Representative (2nd District), Arroyo filed a resolution seeking to amend the constitution by Cha-Cha.

Arroyo also showed her funny side when she filed the Cha-cha bill, Bernas said.

Bernas said it’s “humorous” that Arroyo herself is seeking Cha-cha just a day after she began her first day as Pampanga’s 2nd District Representative.

While he has nothing against amending the Charter, Bernas said Arroyo’s move is “too early” as process for it should not be initiated until next year.

Arroyo and her son, Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado Arroyo, co-authored House Resolution 8 which calls for Cha-cha through a constitutional convention (Con-con).

“Not for now. Eventually, I think, we will have Charter Change. I hope it’s a Con-Con not earlier than 2011,” said Bernas.

The Jesuit priest, who is also the Dean Emeritus of the Ateneo Law School, is one of the authors of the 1987 Constitution.

According to him, amending the Charter should not be made yet especially since President Benigno Aquino III has just been sworn recently.

Bernas noted that Filipinos are still euphoric over the entry of a new administration after Arroyo’s nine-year term and thus making it impractical to hold another election.

“Getting a Con-con would mean another national election and we just had an election recently. It can be a very expensive process plus people are still distracted,” Bernas said.

“It is still a little early… I doubt very much it will prosper this year. If at all, it might get going again next year. I doubt it will get going this year,” he added.

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