Monday, October 24, 2005

Rubber stamp

The perception that the Constitutional Commission established by Malacañang to gather data and inputs about Charter Change is a mere rubber stamp erodes the patina of credibility that the members of the commission have lent to the commission.
There is no denying that the members of the commission are intellectual and political heavyweights in their own rights. Just look at the roster of members: journalist Jarius Bondoc, former Cebu Gov. Pablo Garcia and the former UP President Jose Abueva and many more bright boys and girls from the business, civil society and political circles.
It is very disturbing, however, that the members of the commission themselves would wonder if they are really a consultative and data-gathering body or just an approve-now-consult-later clique.
In a country that has yet to harness and maximize the potentials of the presidential form of government, ramming the federal-parliamentary setup down the throat of hungry Filipinos will just deepen the political apathy and cynicism that has shrouded this god-forsaken country.
As what academicians and the religious sector have observed, cha-cha sounds Greek to most Ilonggos and Filipinos who spend most of their time grappling with the crises affecting their lives. It is but proper that they should understand why there is a plan to tinker with the Constitution, why do we need to change our form of government and what are the alternatives.
The commissioners maybe the best and the brightest in the country, but the appointing power that constituted them and gave them a staggering P10-million budget is the very same person accused of stealing the 2004 elections and enriching her clan’s coffers with jueteng money.
This is the very reason why the credibility of the commission is very much in question. The credibility-­crisis worsened with the pronouncements of its own members who raised their eyebrows on the practices and policies they have adopted like approving a report on the change in the form of government.
Don’t tell me that these commissioners will go around the country to seek and feel the pulse of the people when they already agreed on what to recommend to the President and Congress. What is this, a multimillion countryside junket?
The commission is given two to three months to gather inputs of concerned sectors around the country. Is this enough to come up with an encompassing and comprehensive report on what should be changed in our charter?
For a sensitive issue such as tinkering with our Constitution, three months is only enough for the debate phase.
To be a truly recommendatory and consultative entity, the Con-com should have refrained from drafting a template report on the form of government. In the first place, do all Filipinos, except for the local politicians, want a shift from presidential to parliamentary?
Or do we need to have a change of heart and conscience?


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