Neri Colmenares decries aim of Cha-cha drive
MANILA, Philippines — The Duterte administration’s new push to amend the Constitution is meant to benefit only foreign powers, such as China and the United States, Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares said on Wednesday.
The party list group leader warned that renewed moves for a charter change (Cha-cha) would be “mainly just for the economic interest of foreign powers, and not for the betterment of the majority of Filipinos.”
“The 100-percent foreign ownership of strategic Philippine industries and assets is the primary purpose of [the proposed Cha-cha],” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte is even using the supposed threat of coup d’etat … to scare the people into supporting Cha-cha, he said.
Colmenares made the remarks after the President admitted on Monday that he had urged incoming congressional leaders to amend the Charter.
“We have to change the Constitution, whether federal or whatnot. I have talked to the three candidates, the Speaker and that is Cayetano,” the President said.
According to Colmenares, previous attempts by the administration to change the Charter revealed attempts to open up the country’s resources to foreign firms.
Joint Resolution No. 15
“Looking at (Resolution of Both Houses No. 15), the latest draft of the Duterte Constitution shows an attempt at opening up our resources and public utilities to transnational corporations and other countries,” he said.
“I will not be surprised if Duterte will delete provisions exclusively reserving our (exclusive economic zone) to Filipinos so he can accommodate China,” the former congressman said.
He dismissed the President’s claim that the military is becoming restless because of corruption and that makes Cha-cha an urgent concern for the remaining years of his presidency.
Oath to protect, not to amend
“When was the Constitution ever an issue for the military or police? They resorted to coup d’etat to oust the person in Malacañang due to various issues, but never the Constitution,” he said.
“Besides the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and [Philippine National Police] are mandated to defend the Constitution, not to change it,” he said.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the Duterte administration’s proposed Cha-cha was meant to remove the protection provisions of the 1987 Constitution on national patrimony, national sovereignty, social justice and human rights.
“This Cha-cha is not really for anticorruption. Many of the people he appointed are the ones who are corrupt, and not because of the 1987 Constitution,” Zarate said.
Term extensions again
Under the proposed Cha-cha, proponents are dangling the issue of term extension to get politicians to support it, Zarate said.
“We are urging the people to be more vigilant in this latest push for Cha-cha because, if not, we may wake up one morning already becoming a virtual province of an imperialist country, like China or America,” he said.
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