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Group under CBCP opposes Charter change, citing lack of transparency

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PHILSTAR

AN ORGANIZATION under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has expressed its opposition to charter change, saying it is untimely and not transparent.

The CBCP’s lay sector, Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas (LAIKO), said in a statement on Thursday that “ in unity with all Filipinos who are freedom-loving and defenders of truth, we strongly oppose the Charter Change.”

“We do not believe in the timeliness of the process and its lack of transparency because we are witnesses to a House of Representatives that acts as puppets of a totalitarian executive,” LAIKO added.

“Based on the March 2018 Pulse Asia Survey the number of Filipinos opposed to Charter change went up from 44 percent in July 2016 to 64 % in March 2018, and the opposition to federalism went the same way, except by a larger margin from 33 percent to 66 percent,” the organization explained.

LAIKO urged the local government to stop charter change and consider to “craft enabling laws that will fully implement the provisions of the 1987 Constitution especially on the Freedom of Information and the Anti-Dynasty Law.”

They also insist that incumbent politicians should, “Make the wider consultation process in the country for the Filipinos to fully understand the effects of tampering with the 1987 Constitution”

LAIKO also emphasized that the government should “call for a constitutional convention wherein the different sectors of society are represented and in a democratic venue express their stand without being afraid for their life.”

“We do not believe in the proposal to adopt a federal form of government that would apparently guarantee a fairer distribution of resources among the regions, more participation in the political process and a better life for all, yet giving vast powers to President Duterte between 2019-2022, and impose more taxes on the people to support new structures and officials,” the group said.

On the other hand, The Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution’s (ConCom) draft charter assured in Section 3 of Article XIII that “The Federal Government and the Federated Regions shall ensure that taxation shall be uniform, equitable, and progressive. No double taxation shall be allowed.”

It was also reported earlier this week that president Rodrigo R. Duterte asked the ConCom to revise its Transitory Provisions, saying he wants to be barred from running in the 2022 General Elections and wants a “Transition leader” to hold office after the ratification of the Constitution.

Despite the ConCom being tasked to revise the 1987 Constitution according to an Executive Order 10 issued by the president back in 2016, it is up to the Congress to legislate the Federal government.

LAIKO said the legislative body “acts as puppets of a totalitarian executive.” — Gillian M. Cortez