Press Release
July 17, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the administration should accept that Charter Change has bleak chances of succeeding given the outcome of the June survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showing that 67 percent of registered voters will vote no to the proposed shift to a unicameral parliamentary system if a plebiscite on the issue is held today.

Pimentel said the SWS survey finding indicates the peoples deep distrust over the administrations initiatives to amend the Constitution in the light of suspicion that it is being used to counteract moves by her critics to remove her from office and to enable her to hang on to power.

He also said this implies the peoples skepticism that the unicameral parliament that the administration is seeking to create will be beholden to the Palace, especially during a three-year transition period when President Arroyo would stay in office and continue to exercise the powers of the head of government.

Assuming that the findings of the SWS are reliable, it means that the people are apprehensive that their rights will be at risk from a legislature in the form of a unicameral offspring that takes after the House of Representatives, the senator said.

Indeed the probability of the emergence of a grotesque entity embodying the worst features of the House where the majority members know no other word than yes, maam or yes, sir, to those who control their funds is very great considering the circumstances.

Pimentel said the SWS survey outcome also reflects the view of enlightened members of society that while there is a need for constitutional reforms, Cha Cha should not be undertaken as long as President Arroyo remains in office.

Hence, I suggest that those who honestly believe that a unicameral parliamentary body is better than a bicameral one should hold their horses of constitutional change until after Gloria is replaced as president, he said.

With her in the saddle, there is no free atmosphere in which the issue can be debated in reason and dispassionately.

Saying advocates of Cha Cha would do well to reverse gears, Pimentel said:

Instead of ramming through their intent by sheer force of numbers which will result in grave and regrettable repercussions, it would be best to wait for better times after Gloria is gone and God will have judged her as she wishes.

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