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Defensor: Cha-cha talks won’t fly amid pandemic

/ 03:02 PM January 07, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Even as he backs the review of the 1987 Constitution, Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor said Thursday he believes the initiative will not fly as the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Defensor, the issue of Charter change (Cha-cha) is a “divisive” topic that could affect the country’s response to and recovery from the public health crisis.

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“I am for it, but the question is timing, and today, while we are still battling the COVID-19 pandemic and not achieving much success, is not the right time,” Defensor said in a statement.

He said people will accuse members of Congress of being “insensitive to their suffering and even arrogant if we tackle Cha-cha now.”

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“Cha-cha is not the solution to the pandemic and economic hardship our people have to grapple with every day,” he noted.

“Cha-cha is a highly divisive issue. It will sap the nation’s attention, resources, logistics, and manpower, which will all be diverted to this untimely effort,” he added.

Defensor further said the public might also accuse lawmakers of aiming to extend the stay in power of elective officials by working on Cha-cha toward the end of the term of the Duterte administration and their own term of office.

He said every Cha-cha initiative in the past failed because it was undertaken toward the end of every sitting administration.

“People always suspected that members of Congress were out to scrap the term limits and prolong their stay in office,” according to Defensor.

Hearings on constitutional amendments are set to resume in the House of Representatives next week.

Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin, chair of the House committee on constitutional amendments, said proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution will only target the “restrictive” economic provisions of the nation’s Charter. — Zac Sarao, trainee

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TAGS: 1987 Constitution, Charter change, Congress, constituent assembly, constitutional amendments, Mike Defensor, Politics, Ronald dela Rosa
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