Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004

About

@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Why oppose Con-Ass?
Speech delivered at the Main Theater of the University of the East-Recto.
Is charter change legal? Yes. Is Con-Ass legal? Yes. So why are we opposing House Resolution 1109 or “A Resolution Calling Upon The Members of Congress to Convene for the Purpose of Considering Proposals to Amend or Revise the Constitution, Upon a Vote of Three-Fourths of All the Members of Congress.”
Here are our reasons:
1. There is no compelling reason to amend the Constitution today. Why the rush to amend the Constitution? Why can’t they wait after the 2010 elections? If we do not dance to the tune of Chacha this year, it will not spell doom for the country. The sky will not fall (we have to remind Chicken Little about that). But if we force Chacha now, it might worsen the political crisis in the country. It might spark political violence. Do we want that to happen?
2. Congress violated the House rules when it adopted HR 1109. This is a Zombie Resolution – ilang beses na itong namatay, binuhay, namatay at binuhay ulit. The principal author withdrew his support for the measure, the resolution was defeated at the committee level, the Committee on Rules initially refused to calendar the measure in the plenary agenda. Five members of Congress sponsored the resolution – all of them contradicted each other in their legal interpretation of the measure.
The period of interpellation was cut-off; the majority prematurely ended the debates on the controversial measure. They railroaded the adoption of HR 1109.
There are other Chacha proposals in the House; 18 measures to be exact. For example, we have House Concurrent Resolution No. 3, House Bill No. 1752, House Bill No. 3149. Notice the difference?
What Congress adopted last June 2 was a simple House Resolution to amend the fundamental law of the land. (Yes, a simple House Resolution!). A House Resolution can be adopted through voice vote – palakasan lang ng boses. Baka ayaw magpakilala ng mga pro Con-Ass.
3. HR 1109 is unconstitutional. We have a bicameral system but the Lower House is determined to convene the Con-Ass even without the participation of the Senate. Samantalang lahat ng batas na ipinapasa sa Mababang Kapulungan, kahit ang national budget, ay kailangang may approval muna ng Senado.
4. HR 1109 allows Congress to overhaul the whole Constitution. There was an interesting moment in the Con-Ass deliberation. Former Speaker Joe De Venecia stood on the floor and objected to the passage of HR 1109. It was somewhat hilarious because for the past 17 years he was the principal advocate of Chacha. Why did he oppose HR 1109? Ang sabi niya yung Chacha na sinusulong niya noon ay malinaw kung ano ang nakasaad na probisyon sa Konstitusyon ang gusto nilang baguhin – shift from presidential to parliamentary and federal system of government. Samantalang ang HR 1109 ay walang kongkretong panukala. Very general, vague, silent. This is dangerous.
Tama si former speaker. Through HR 1109, Congress has the power to amend not one, not two, but several provisions in the Constitution. We can change almost all provisions in the 1987 Constitution. Kaya sana, pag-uwi ninyo mamaya, basahin ninyo ang Konstitusyon, lalo na yung declaration of principles. Baka sa susunod na buwan, iba na ang nilalaman ng Konstitusyon.
Congress can remove provisions guaranteeing human rights protection. The 1987 Constitution is a product of the anti-dictatorship struggle. There are preventive measures against the re-imposition of a Marcos-type of Martial Law. Congress can remove these safety measures.
Congress may insert amendments that would allow the entry of nuclear-powered warships in the country. The ban on foreign military bases can be removed. Eto kaya ang pag-uusapan nina PGMA at Obama sa July 31?
Congress will remove the nationalist economic provisions in the constitution. Under the 1987 Constitution, the State is obliged to develop a “self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.”(Article II Sec 19) Foreigners cannot own lands. Congress wants to remove these ownership restrictions.
Kailangan ba talagang alisin ang mga probisyong ito para maging globally competitive ang bansa? Hindi. Ang reklamo ng mga investor ay corruption in the bureacracy, poor public infrastructure, and high power rates.
Why do we want foreigners to own lands, corporations, schools, and media stations in the country? In the US, the government is nationalizing banks and companies. The stimulus program of the Obama government contains several trade protectionist measures. In light of the global financial crisis, many countries, including rich countries like the US are rethinking their economic programs. Tapos tayo atat na ata na ibenta ang ating mga lupa, yamang likas, at mga korporasyon. It’s sell-out, it’s treason, it’s anti-Filipino, it’s anti-poor.
The next issue is familiar to everyone. Congress will remove the term limits for elected public officials. Congress will make it possible for PGMA to remain in power beyond 2010, either through term extension or shift in system of government. Next year, she might be Prime Minister Gloria (Magtatagal) Arroyo. This is possible. Google Vladimir Putin.
Ang sabi ng majority mayroon naman daw silang pledge na nilagay sa HR 1109. Pledge na matutuloy ang eleksiyon sa susunod na taon. Pledge na hindi pahahabain ang termino ng mga nakaupong pulitiko ngayon. Tama sila. Buti during the period of interpellation, we asked them if the pledge is legally binding for all members of the House. Their emphatic answer was no.
There are other credible theories: Chacha could be a ploy to sabotage the preparation for the 2010 elections. Chacha could lead to a no-el scenario. Chacha could be part of an evil plan to justify the declaration of Martial Law.
Pick your conspiracy theory. But one thing is clear. Any talk on Chacha – whether concon, con-ass or people’s initative – will only benefit the incumbent president. Why is Senator Nene Pimentel, a proponent of federalism since the 1980s, vehemently opposing HR 1109? Nakipagbati pa siya sa kanyang kaaway na si Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Alam kasi niya na sinusulong ang Chacha para sa mga makasariling dahilan ng mga maka-administrasyon.
Maybe some of you are in favor of amending the Constitution. There is nothing wrong with that. I respect your views. Do not surrender your advocacy. But my request is this: Do not support HR 1109. Do not lend your reputation, your idealism to advance the self-serving motives of pro Chacha advocates in Congress and Malacanang. Now is not the proper time to dance the Chacha.
What should we do?
There was a Chacha proposal during the Ramos administration in 1997. Bakit ba mahilig mag Chacha ang mga pulitiko kapag malapit nang magtapos ang kanilang termino? Paano natalo ang Chacha ni Ramos? Nagrali ang mahigit isang milyong katao sa Luneta. The opposition, including the Catholic Church, joined forces during that historic protest. Ang tanong, kailan tayo pupunta ng Luneta?
You need to convince your legislators to publicly reject Con-Ass. We need to gather the broadest number of protesters in the streets. Kailangang may clamor against Con-Ass. Kailangang marinig ang boses ng kabataan. Hindi sapat ang facebook activism, blogging at paggamit ng twitter. Maraming mambabatas hindi bumibista sa cyberspace. Marami sa kanila hindi alam ang blog. You need to directly engage them. Write them letters, organize local actions.
Kailangan ng sakripisyo. Kung kinakailangang huwag munang umuwi sa hapon para mag noise barrage, gawin natin. Huwag munang manood ng Boys Over Flowers. Sa Baguio, tuwing 11:09 ng umaga, pumipito ang maraming estudyante bilang tanda ng kanilang protesta laban sa HR 1109. Malapit lang kayo sa Malakanyang. Kailangang paabutin hanggang palasyo ang inyong  sentimyento sa Chacha.
I recognize the difficulty of organizing assemblies today. Swine flu is a serious threat to the formation of a broad opposition to Chacha. Paano tayo magpapalawak sa mga eskuwelahan kung palaging suspended ang mga klase? Paano tayo magkakapait bisig sa kalye kung sa simbahan pa nga lamang ay pinagbabawal minsan ang paghahawak ng kamay tuwing kinakanta ang Ama Namin? Paano tayo magpapaliwanag tungkol sa Chacha kung lagi tayong naka facemask sa mga matataong lugar. We have to explain to our family and friends that the Con-Ass virus is more dangerous than swine flu. Madaling umiwas sa swine flu: ang katapat lang niyan ay vitamin c, pahinga at virgin coconut oil. Pero ang Con-Ass kapag tinuloy ay mas malaking peligro ang dulot sa sambayanan.
Mayroon pa akong pakiusap: Magtanong sa mga nakakatanda. Magbasa ng mga history book. Alamin kung ano ang Martial Law. Paano ba ang buhay noon habang may batas militar? Walang student council, walang campus paper, walang student organizations. Kung may internet noon, baka naka block ang youtube at friendster. Noong bata kami bawal ang Voltes V. Sinasabi ko ito dahil may kaugnayan ang Chacha at Martial Law. Pareho itong nakaamba ngayon. Pareho itong pwedeng gawin ng administrasyong Arroyo.
In the early 1970s, they said Marcos wouldn’t dare declare martial law. Eventually, he did. Now, many are asserting that Gloria Arroyo wouldn’t dare remain in power beyond 2010. Are we sure about that?
There is another option for everyone. Do nothing. Remain kings and queens in your ako mismo world. But the price that we have to pay for our inaction is the loss of our power to decide our future.
I am confident that students and teachers of UE will be among the most active opponents of the Chacha proposal. I hope to see you one of these days in the noise barrage actions, youth protest activities, and even outside the Batasan Complex during the SONASpeech delivered at the Main Theater of the University of the East-Recto. Speech delivered at the Main Theater of the University of the East-Speech delivered at the Main Theater of the University of the East-Recto.Recto.

Speech delivered at the Main Theater of the University of the East-Recto.

Is charter change legal? Yes. Is Con-Ass legal? Yes. So why are we opposing House Resolution 1109 or “A Resolution Calling Upon The Members of Congress to Convene for the Purpose of Considering Proposals to Amend or Revise the Constitution, Upon a Vote of Three-Fourths of All the Members of Congress.”

Here are our reasons:

1. There is no compelling reason to amend the Constitution today. Why the rush to amend the Constitution? Why can’t they wait after the 2010 elections? If we do not dance to the tune of Chacha this year, it will not spell doom for the country. The sky will not fall (we have to remind Chicken Little about that). But if we force Chacha now, it might worsen the political crisis in the country. It might spark political violence. Do we want that to happen?

2. Congress violated the House rules when it adopted HR 1109. This is a Zombie Resolution – ilang beses na itong namatay, binuhay, namatay at binuhay ulit. The principal author withdrew his support for the measure, the resolution was defeated at the committee level, the Committee on Rules initially refused to calendar the measure in the plenary agenda. Five members of Congress sponsored the resolution – all of them contradicted each other in their legal interpretation of the measure.

The period of interpellation was cut-off; the majority prematurely ended the debates on the controversial measure. They railroaded the adoption of HR 1109.

There are other Chacha proposals in the House; 18 measures to be exact. For example, we have House Concurrent Resolution No. 3, House Bill No. 1752, House Bill No. 3149. Notice the difference?

What Congress adopted last June 2 was a simple House Resolution to amend the fundamental law of the land. (Yes, a simple House Resolution!). A House Resolution can be adopted through voice vote – palakasan lang ng boses. Baka ayaw magpakilala ng mga pro Con-Ass.

3. HR 1109 is unconstitutional. We have a bicameral system but the Lower House is determined to convene the Con-Ass even without the participation of the Senate. Samantalang lahat ng batas na ipinapasa sa Mababang Kapulungan, kahit ang national budget, ay kailangang may approval muna ng Senado.

4. HR 1109 allows Congress to overhaul the whole Constitution. There was an interesting moment in the Con-Ass deliberation. Former Speaker Joe De Venecia stood on the floor and objected to the passage of HR 1109. It was somewhat hilarious because for the past 17 years he was the principal advocate of Chacha. Why did he oppose HR 1109? Ang sabi niya yung Chacha na sinusulong niya noon ay malinaw kung ano ang nakasaad na probisyon sa Konstitusyon ang gusto nilang baguhin – shift from presidential to parliamentary and federal system of government. Samantalang ang HR 1109 ay walang kongkretong panukala. Very general, vague, silent. This is dangerous.

Tama si former speaker. Through HR 1109, Congress has the power to amend not one, not two, but several provisions in the Constitution. We can change almost all provisions in the 1987 Constitution. Kaya sana, pag-uwi ninyo mamaya, basahin ninyo ang Konstitusyon, lalo na yung declaration of principles. Baka sa susunod na buwan, iba na ang nilalaman ng Konstitusyon.

Congress can remove provisions guaranteeing human rights protection. The 1987 Constitution is a product of the anti-dictatorship struggle. There are preventive measures against the re-imposition of a Marcos-type of Martial Law. Congress can remove these safety measures.

Congress may insert amendments that would allow the entry of nuclear-powered warships in the country. The ban on foreign military bases can be removed. Eto kaya ang pag-uusapan nina PGMA at Obama sa July 31?

Congress will remove the nationalist economic provisions in the constitution. Under the 1987 Constitution, the State is obliged to develop a “self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.”(Article II Sec 19) Foreigners cannot own lands. Congress wants to remove these ownership restrictions.

Kailangan ba talagang alisin ang mga probisyong ito para maging globally competitive ang bansa? Hindi. Ang reklamo ng mga investor ay corruption in the bureacracy, poor public infrastructure, and high power rates.

Why do we want foreigners to own lands, corporations, schools, and media stations in the country? In the US, the government is nationalizing banks and companies. The stimulus program of the Obama government contains several trade protectionist measures. In light of the global financial crisis, many countries, including rich countries like the US are rethinking their economic programs. Tapos tayo atat na ata na ibenta ang ating mga lupa, yamang likas, at mga korporasyon. It’s sell-out, it’s treason, it’s anti-Filipino, it’s anti-poor.

The next issue is familiar to everyone. Congress will remove the term limits for elected public officials. Congress will make it possible for PGMA to remain in power beyond 2010, either through term extension or shift in system of government. Next year, she might be Prime Minister Gloria (Magtatagal) Arroyo. This is possible. Google Vladimir Putin.

Ang sabi ng majority mayroon naman daw silang pledge na nilagay sa HR 1109. Pledge na matutuloy ang eleksiyon sa susunod na taon. Pledge na hindi pahahabain ang termino ng mga nakaupong pulitiko ngayon. Tama sila. Buti during the period of interpellation, we asked them if the pledge is legally binding for all members of the House. Their emphatic answer was no.

There are other credible theories: Chacha could be a ploy to sabotage the preparation for the 2010 elections. Chacha could lead to a no-el scenario. Chacha could be part of an evil plan to justify the declaration of Martial Law.

Pick your conspiracy theory. But one thing is clear. Any talk on Chacha – whether concon, con-ass or people’s initative – will only benefit the incumbent president. Why is Senator Nene Pimentel, a proponent of federalism since the 1980s, vehemently opposing HR 1109? Nakipagbati pa siya sa kanyang kaaway na si Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. Alam kasi niya na sinusulong ang Chacha para sa mga makasariling dahilan ng mga maka-administrasyon.

Maybe some of you are in favor of amending the Constitution. There is nothing wrong with that. I respect your views. Do not surrender your advocacy. But my request is this: Do not support HR 1109. Do not lend your reputation, your idealism to advance the self-serving motives of pro Chacha advocates in Congress and Malacanang. Now is not the proper time to dance the Chacha.

What should we do?

There was a Chacha proposal during the Ramos administration in 1997. Bakit ba mahilig mag Chacha ang mga pulitiko kapag malapit nang magtapos ang kanilang termino? Paano natalo ang Chacha ni Ramos? Nagrali ang mahigit isang milyong katao sa Luneta. The opposition, including the Catholic Church, joined forces during that historic protest. Ang tanong, kailan tayo pupunta ng Luneta?

You need to convince your legislators to publicly reject Con-Ass. We need to gather the broadest number of protesters in the streets. Kailangang may clamor against Con-Ass. Kailangang marinig ang boses ng kabataan. Hindi sapat ang facebook activism, blogging at paggamit ng twitter. Maraming mambabatas hindi bumibista sa cyberspace. Marami sa kanila hindi alam ang blog. You need to directly engage them. Write them letters, organize local actions.

Kailangan ng sakripisyo. Kung kinakailangang huwag munang umuwi sa hapon para mag noise barrage, gawin natin. Huwag munang manood ng Boys Over Flowers. Sa Baguio, tuwing 11:09 ng umaga, pumipito ang maraming estudyante bilang tanda ng kanilang protesta laban sa HR 1109. Malapit lang kayo sa Malakanyang. Kailangang paabutin hanggang palasyo ang inyong  sentimyento sa Chacha.

I recognize the difficulty of organizing assemblies today. Swine flu is a serious threat to the formation of a broad opposition to Chacha. Paano tayo magpapalawak sa mga eskuwelahan kung palaging suspended ang mga klase? Paano tayo magkakapait bisig sa kalye kung sa simbahan pa nga lamang ay pinagbabawal minsan ang paghahawak ng kamay tuwing kinakanta ang Ama Namin? Paano tayo magpapaliwanag tungkol sa Chacha kung lagi tayong naka facemask sa mga matataong lugar. We have to explain to our family and friends that the Con-Ass virus is more dangerous than swine flu. Madaling umiwas sa swine flu: ang katapat lang niyan ay vitamin c, pahinga at virgin coconut oil. Pero ang Con-Ass kapag tinuloy ay mas malaking peligro ang dulot sa sambayanan.

Mayroon pa akong pakiusap: Magtanong sa mga nakakatanda. Magbasa ng mga history book. Alamin kung ano ang Martial Law. Paano ba ang buhay noon habang may batas militar? Walang student council, walang campus paper, walang student organizations. Kung may internet noon, baka naka block ang youtube at friendster. Noong bata kami bawal ang Voltes V. Sinasabi ko ito dahil may kaugnayan ang Chacha at Martial Law. Pareho itong nakaamba ngayon. Pareho itong pwedeng gawin ng administrasyong Arroyo.

In the early 1970s, they said Marcos wouldn’t dare declare martial law. Eventually, he did. Now, many are asserting that Gloria Arroyo wouldn’t dare remain in power beyond 2010. Are we sure about that?

There is another option for everyone. Do nothing. Remain kings and queens in your ako mismo world. But the price that we have to pay for our inaction is the loss of our power to decide our future.

I am confident that students and teachers of UE will be among the most active opponents of the Chacha proposal. I hope to see you one of these days in the noise barrage actions, youth protest activities, and even outside the Batasan Complex during the SONA.

5 Responses to “Why oppose Con-Ass?”

  1. Hindi rin ako naniniwala sa sinasabi nila (o ni Gloria) na hindi siya mag-aasam na maging pinuno uli after 2010. Minsan na niya yang sinabi noon na hindi na siya tatakbo for presidency noong 2004. Pero tumakbo pa rin siya. She can’t be trusted. Sawa na ako sa pamumuno niya for 10 years.

    It’s BS to say na mas nagiging effective lang ang mga pinuno kapag mas matagal sa pwesto. GMA was given 10 years (unfortunately) pero gaano ba kalaki ang naging pagbabago sa bansa. She has to step down.

    Nakakabuwisit nga yung mga haka-haka na tatakbo siya as a Representative once she step down on 2010. Para ano? Para pag nagbago ang form of government ng Pilipinas me pag-asa siyang maging PM?

    P4

  2. […] Isang araw bago ang SONA ni Pangulong Gloria Arroyo, ipahayag at ikalat natin sa Internet ang ating pagtutol sa con-ass na niluluto ng mga kaalyado niyang mambabatas para sa sarili nilang kapakinabangan. […]

    Cyberprotest day vs. #con-ass sa Hunyo 26, Linggo : Bloggers Kapihan

  3. I definitely support all moves against CON-ASS. I agree with you. The only reason they want to push thru with this CON-ASS is for selfish desires. I agree that some provisions in the constitution need to be revised or rather improved to benefit the majority of the citizenry, especially we the poor. However, the timing, the issues they want to improve and the reasons why are not right. Nakaktawa nga mga nasa kongreso. Sila gumagawa ng batas pero sila din ang hindi sumusunod. Mas nakakatawa pa, marami sa kanila ang hindi nakakaintindi sa nilalaman ng konstitusyon. If they truly want us to believe their words and follow them, they should first show us they are following the constitution. Example, let them follow the law on Political dynasty. Dyan palang marami na sa kanila bagsak, mula sa presidente.
    If the constitution truly needs to be improved, so be it…..for as long as it will be done after the new president has been seated and that it will be done through the participation of the people….meaning, hindi mga politiko ang gagawa. Dapat tayong mga sibilyan. Delikado kapag mga politiko ang gumawa, lalo na kung mga kongregista. They will simply curb all rules just to protect their personal wants.

    Marijo Viray

  4. Very interesting and amusing subject. I read with great pleasure.

    Arsento

  5. now i know why.. tsk..

    BobongisKO

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