Press Release
December 15, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today doubted whether the failed Charter Change could be revived as long as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains in power.

Pimentel said the people have become cynical about moves to amend the Constitution because they have seen how Mrs. Arroyo, Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. and their minions in the House of Representatives and the local government units have taken advantage of their positions to pursue Charter Change to keep themselves in power and to ensure their political survival.

Since Mrs. Arroyo emerged as the questionable winner in the fraudulent 2004 presidential election, the lone senator from Mindanao has denounced the administration-sponsored Charter Change as a ploy to divert the peoples attention from the misgovernance, corruption and human rights violations that have characterized the present government.

There is no change in our position. We dont want any move to amend the Constitution, not at this time, not before the May 2007 elections or even while Gloria is still there in Malacañang , Pimentel said.

He said the administrations efforts to install a unicameral parliamentary system through peoples initiative and Constituent Assembly crumbled because the people were outraged over the way the President and her legislative allies have employed naked power to trample upon the constitutional processes and to defy the sovereign will just to get what they wanted.

The people saw through the self-serving motives of power-wielders and their cohorts in pushing for Charter Change at the expense of the public weal, Pimentel said.

The minority leader said the decision of the De Venecia-led majority congressmen and Mrs. Arroyos to archive the resolution on Constituent Assembly and Mrs. Arroyos conceding that Charter Change is a lost cause should enable lawmakers to concentrate on legislations that are for the welfare of the nation, specially the 2007 national budget during the remaining session days before the election campaign.

Pimentel acknowledged that a Constitutional Convention is the more acceptable method of amending the Constitution.

However, he said it remains to be seen whether the House is seriously pursuing Con-Con to supplant Con-Ass. He noted that the House has revised its internal rules in such a way that proposals for constitutional amendments, after being approved by the House, need not be sent to the Senate for approval.

Unless the House restores the old rule requiring Senate concurrence for constitutional amendments, Pimentel said the possibility that administration congressmen will revert back to Con-Ass cannot be ruled out.

If ever the Senate and House will agree on Con-Con proposal, Pimentel said he is against a proposal to elect the Con-Con delegates simultaneously with the election of congressional and local government officials.

The proposal is inadvisable because constitutional issues will be mixed up partisan political issues that will only confuse the people, he said.

If the two elections are held at the same time, Pimentel said chances are the people will pay more attention to the issues involving candidates for senators, congressmen and local government officials, at the expense of constitutional issues that candidates for Con-Con delegates will espouse.

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