Press Release
December 13, 2006


Senator Richard J. Gordon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws challenged the proponents of charter change in the House to be open about their reasons for their advocacy after the Senate hearing on Charter Change.

Transparency and sincerity is essential, so let me quote Shakespeare to our colleagues in the House of Representatives to thine own self, be true. There are many in power who claim that they are for charter change. They sugarcoat it with reasons that range from the mundane to the sublime, on dramatic political, economic and social reforms. They try to rally public support by offering charter change as a panacea to all our nations ills. But at the end of the day, what do they really want, to extend their terms in office? Gordon remarked.

The senator said that there is really nothing wrong with wanting to lift term limits, citing his personal belief that longer terms or no term limitations would give elective government officials time to study and understand the needs of their constituents, and to have and implement genuine long term plans for development. Longer terms and no term limits can lead to a more productive, proactive and stable governance, which is the essence of public service, said Gordon.

However, the Senator said that the issue should be talked about openly. If they want an extension of terms or an abolition of term limits, manindigan sila. We should not hide behind other issues. If we believe that longer terms of office is good for the country, then let us campaign and debate on the matter. Our country deserves leaders that are paragons of transparency and sincerity, Gordon said.

On the issue of term limits, Gordon stressed the importance of strengthening the integrity of the electoral process in the event that term limits are extended or abolished, to ensure that every vote is counted as cast and officials elected are reflective of the true will of the people. We have taken steps towards that. The recently passed Automated Election Bill, which I authored, is a step towards bringing back the power to the people to choose their leaders. This bill will safeguard their votes and ensure that their voices are heard, said Gordon.

We should not monkey around with fundamental principles of the Constitution, particularly the form of government. He pointed out that this was the consensus of his committee hearings on charter change. Shifting to a parliamentary form of government will not solve the real everyday problems of Filipinos. Lets focus on provisions that deal with real and immediate problems. Lets see how we can amend economic provisions to generate investments and jobs. Lets see how we can enhance supervision of the police so we can actually solve crimes. These are the real problems. Lets study amendments like these, one at a time, so our people can understand them and they can truly give their opinions on specific and individual issues, said Gordon.

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