Press Release
January 26, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said Malacañang is harboring false hopes by thinking that it can get the Senates nod to Charter Change by seeking the formation of a bicameral panel to thresh out differences between the Senate and House of Representatives on proposals to amend the Constitution.

Pimentel said no amount of cajolery, gimmickry or meddling on the part of the Palace can change the stand of the overwhelming majority of the senators to put Charter Change on hold in the belief that this is only being exploited by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo not only to offset calls for her resignation but also to entrench herself in office and even expand her powers.

He said that while the senators recognize the need for constitutional reforms to cure the cancerous defects in the system of governance, they will not allow themselves to be used for a dubious scheme to ensure the survival of a discredited and ineffectual government at the expense of the greater interest of the nation.

The proposed creation of a bicameral panel to expedite Charter Change will not take off the ground for the simple reason that the senators do not believe that now is the right time to amend the Constitution. But if the President will come to her senses and heed the public clamor for her resignation, then we can expect Charter Change to get on the tracks and roll on in the Senate, Pimentel said.

The minority leader said the President should realize that she is the biggest stumbling block to Charter Change because of her adamant stand to stay in power despite her badly-damaged credibility.

Pimentel pointed out that even Mrs. Arroyos partymates and allies in the Senate are cool to Charter Change and her efforts to convince them to back the move have received an anemic response from them.

I cant see how a bicameral committee on Charter Change will be of any use at this point in time when you dont even have the numbers to get the amendatory process moving, he said.

As proposed by the Senate, the bicameral panel will be composed of five senators and five congressmen.

Saying that the proposal is like putting the cart before the horse, Pimentel said the formation of the bicameral panel presupposes that the senators have already agreed to Charter Change, which in truth and in fact, is not the case.

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