New coalition rises vs ‘selfish’ Cha-cha
Opposition, Church, labor, youth

New coalition rises vs ‘selfish’ Cha-cha

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:38 AM February 15, 2024

Risa Hontiveros

Risa Hontiveros —Senate Social Media Unit

Various people’s organizations and religious groups launched on Wednesday a new coalition against renewed efforts to amend the 1987 Constitution, saying such moves were not the solution to the country’s problems, contrary to the proponents’ claims.

The Koalisyon Laban sa Cha-cha (Charter change) denounced the campaign as “selfish” and would only serve the interests of the political forces in power.


The new coalition was convened by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who came to represent Tindig Pilipinas; Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP); Bishop Jonel Milan of the K4Philippines Intercessors Movement; Minnie Anne Mata-Calub of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP); Josua Mata of Nagkaisa Labor Coalition; and Justine Balane, chair of Akbayan Youth.


“Our Constitution is robust but not fully implemented and completed with the necessary implementing laws. The leaders we entrusted with power do not fully implement the Constitution and provide necessary implementing laws because of a selfish agenda,” the coalition said in a program at San Pedro Calungsod Youth Center in Manila.

It also refuted the position held by the lawmakers campaigning for Cha-cha that the Constitution was to be blamed for the continuing high level of poverty in the country and that its economic provisions were too restrictive for foreign investments.

The coalition maintained there was no reason to change the Constitution now, especially under a President “in denial of the corruption and human rights abuses of his father’s dictatorial regime.”

Limited public role

“We view attempts to alter the Constitution, especially with questionable motives and limited public participation, as threatening our nation’s well-being,” said Bagaforo, who chairs the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace and currently heads Caritas Philippines, the social action arm of the CBCP.

“The 1987 Constitution is not a political plaything. It was crafted after a dark period to serve the Filipino people, upholding human dignity, human rights, and the common good. We echo the CBCP’s stance: Any revision must adhere to these moral principles,” he added.

READ: Cha-cha: No for framers, yes for foreign chambers


The CBCP earlier issued a statement warning the Catholic faithful about the people’s initiative that surfaced last month and was revealed to have the support of some politicians, and thus “involves deception and disregard for our true and free participation in the democratic process of our country.”

For the 127-member CBCP, by signing in the people’s initiative, the people were giving lawmakers the broad power to easily change the Constitution according to their self-interests.

“Our prayer is that we will not sign or agree to any petition without careful discernment, discussion and prayer. Let us not allow such deceptive systems to continue, encouraging those who continuously exploit our nation. Truly, this is not good!” the bishop said.

This is ‘true unity’

The NCCP, an ecumenical fellowship of non-Roman Catholic denominations in the country, also rejected the current push for Cha-cha, saying it would not help address the plight of the people.

“It will open up the economy to further foreign exploitation and foreign military basing. The former will further mire the people in poverty while the latter will compromise Philippine sovereignty,” said Ferariza-Meneses, NCCP’s vice chairperson for women, said.

Hontiveros hailed the “true unity” of people’s organizations and religious groups joining forces against Cha-cha despite having come from different walks of life.

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“This is what true unity looks like: The unity of the people to fight for the well-being of the majority, and not just for the interests of a few,” she said.

TAGS: amendment, Cha-cha, Constitution

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