"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

On Charter Change and the Impeachment

The President has issued a statement in this year's SONA on Charter Change amidst the ongoing divisiveness in our country. Naturally, people have made their comments on Charter Change, with some Congressmen in favor of initiating moves towards this process. In fact, as reported in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, my distinguished colleagues -- Senators Frank Drilon and Joker Arroyo, whom I cannot afford as my spokespersons -- even mentioned me as among those in favor of Charter Change.

Our Constitution is far from perfect. That is why there is an Article in the Constitution dedicated to its Amendments or Revisions. I believe there are provisions in the Constitution that, if amended, would bring our country a lot of good. This is why as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws, I am ready to take up Charter Change, IF AND WHEN NEEDED. At the proper time, I will be open to this great debate on Charter Change and intend to actively participate in it.

However, there are other matters of national concern that seem to be more urgent at the moment than Charter Change. We must all keep our eye on the ball and focus on the ECONOMY. We have an oil crisis and a looming energy crisis ahead of us. Our people need new jobs and opportunities. As I have said, time and again, Charter Change should not be pursued today as a reaction to the PARTISAN POLITICAL HYSTERIA.

The President has openly proposed a parliamentary-federal system ofgovernment. But the timeliness of this shift must be carefully considered. For a change as fundamental as our political system of government in our Constitution to work, our people must be ready,willing, and able to undertake such change as well. We must all be united in this process.

Our people are divided right now, as acknowledged by the President herself. A complaint for impeachment has been filed against the President in the House of Representatives and this should be acted upon at the soonest possible time. The faster we RESOLVE and bring CLOSURE to this matter, the better it will be for our country. Only then can we actively, openly and objectively debate on Charter Change, and hopefully forge a Constitution which, in the words of Henry Clay, American statesman and U.S. Congressman, is "made not merely for thegeneration that then existed, but for posterity- unlimited, undefined,endless, perpetual posterity".

27 July 2005