FORMER presidential son, Mikey Arroyo, welcomed the Aquino administration's openness to amend the Constitution to forge peace agreement with Moro rebels in Mindanao.

The Ang Galing-Pinoy party-list representative hopes that Charter change (Cha-cha) will gain more support with the popularity of President Benigno Aquino III.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Arroyo also hopes that the government will admit that the past administration of his mother, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was right all along when it established the need to revisit the Constitution.

“The 1987 Constitution needs to be amended to address ever-growing concerns of the nation in ever-changing situation. Maybe, the 1987 Charter was perfect during the time it was crafted but times have changed and it should now be revisited," he told Sun.Star.

Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (second district, Pampanga) earlier filed a House resolution calling for amendments in the Constitution.

The spokesperson of Pampanga Representative Arroyo said the former President’s pursuit of Cha-cha does not only aim to facilitate peace and development in Mindanao but also seeks to open up more economic opportunities for the country.

“Arroyo is seeking for more long-term peace and development of the country that only a Constitutional change can bring,” said Elena Bautista-Horn.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Representative Danilo Suarez (third district, Quezon) also filed a House resolution which seeks to modify the term for all elective officials, thereby amending the Constitution.

'Unwise' statement

Representative Rodolfo Biazon (lone district, Muntinlupa) meanwhile believes that the government's peace negotiator released an “unwise” statement when he said the Aquino government is open to constitutional amendments.

Peace panel chief Marvic Leonen earlier said the administration is willing to launch new attempts to amend the Constitution if it will result into a peace settlement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

“Is this the response of the government, to offer Charter change? This to me can only be projected as an indication of weakness on the part of the government and I doubt if the president sanctioned this statement,” Biazon told reporters in a press briefing Tuesday.

Biazon also said the executive department cannot commit amendments to the Constitution to forge peace agreement because the 1987 Constitution was ratified by the Filipino people.

Leonen's clarification

In a text message, Leonen explained that Charter change is just one of the options the government is looking at to achieve lasting unity with the Moro rebels.

He said the proposal came from the MILF themselves and they are considering all options possible.

“It is too speculative as of now to talk about whether the constitution needs to be amended. Certainly we are studying closely the proposals of the MILF," Leonen said.

"They are saying that amendment is necessary. Good faith negotiations require that we consider the universe of possibilities. That does not necessarily translate to a certainty that amendment can or will happen,” he added.

But Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang meanwhile said amending the Constitution is not the priority of President Benigno Aquino III at the moment.

The Palace spokesperson said they are not ruling out Cha-cha but the President has no time to dwell on it due to some pressing matters such as economic stability.

“Charter change is not a priority for the President at this point. There are many other things that he has to be resolved first, more pressing problems,” he said.

“The President has never close his doors to Charter Change, he wants to sit down though, for the right reasons at the right time, and at the right circumstances, at this point we’re not yet there yet,” he added.

He reiterated that the government and MILF peace panel have yet to resume the stalled talks. (Kathrina Alvarez/Jill Beltran/Sunnex)