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

Friday, December 12, 2008

No Cha-cha before 2010

"My position has never changed - I am opposed to changing our Constitution before 2010. If we have to change our Charter, we must do so after the elections and the Filipino electorate should be part of the democratic process," said independent Senator Richard J. Gordon who today opposed anew moves to introduce amendments to - or revisions of - the 1987 Constitution before the May 2010 elections.

Gordon, former chairman of the Senate constitutional amendments committee, said he has always been consistent with his stand against changing the Constitution, an issue he labeled as "ill-timed, divisive and incendiary."

"Our economy requires the undivided attention of the political leadership, and it is not a time to be divided. Rather, it is a time to focus on the real problems of the nation. I will not dance to Cha-cha before 2010," he added.

Gordon, the youngest delegate of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, said he wants the issue of amending the Charter as an "election issue" so that the public can debate not only the mode but also the merits of changing the Charter.

"The issue of Charter change should be made an election issue and be part of the national discourse among candidates so the people will know the respective stand on the issue among those whom they are voting in office," he said.

"This way," Gordon explained, "the people will not be suspicious about the motives or about the vested political interest of those who are pushing for amending the Constitution."

Gordon also wanted that the Filipino electorate be part of the democratic process of amending the Constitution so that for the first time in the country's political history they can finally own it as their very own.

According to him, the Malolos Constitution is considered as a revolutionary constitution, the 1935 Commonwealth Constitution as a colonial constitution, while the 1973 Constitution was devised under the auspices of martial law, and the 1987 Constitution was drafted by a group of arbitrarily appointed persons.

"People should be part of the process of changing the Constitution. The people owns the Charter, therefore, they must be a part of any changes," he said.

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