Alvarez: 37% of Pinoys in favor of Charter change ‘encouraging’
Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Tuesday said that the Pulse Asia survey remains encouraging for Congress to propose amendments to the Constitution.
Alvarez made the statement about the Pulse Asia survey conducted from July 2 to 8, which showed that 44 percent of 1,200 Filipinos surveyed do not want Charter change.
On the other hand, 37 percent said they think the Constitution should be amended while 19 percent remain undecided.
Alvarez said the margin of Filipinos supportive of Charter change was bound to increase after an intensified education campaign about federalism. President Rodrigo Duterte had wanted Charter change to shift the form of government from unitary to federal.
“I am not worried with that. I am encouraged with the 30 percent, that’s a good number because the more that you will inform and educate the populace the people, I think pag nag-intindihan nila yan, aakyat ang numbers (when they understand it, the numbers will go up),” Alvarez said in an interview on the sidelines of the majority caucus meeting at the House of Representatives.
Alvarez reiterated his proposal for the President to issue an executive order to create a 25-member constitutional commission to create a draft Charter for Congress to consider.
Alvarez said he would pitch the following constitutional law experts to be members of the constitutional commission—former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno; former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr.; lawyer Reuben Canoy; dean of San Beda Law School Fr. Ranhilio Aquino; and representatives from non-governmental organizations, the academe and other sectors of society.
Critics warned that political clans and business groups in Congress would use Charter change to push for vested interests, such as lifting the term limits of elected officials and easing the foreign ownership restrictions in the 1987 Constitution.
The minority bloc led by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. would push for a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con) to amend the Charter. Under Con-Con, delegates would be elected to represent the people in amending the Charter.
Because Con-Con would cost government some P6 to P7 billion, Duterte said he preferred a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), under which Congress would convene to propose amendments to the Charter. RAM/rga
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