Alliance formed to oppose Cha-cha ‘dance to death’

Alliance formed to oppose Cha-cha ‘dance to death’
SunStar Local News GPX

A FORMER chief justice and a church leader have opposed Charter change (Cha-cha), calling it a threat to democracy and “dance to death” during the launch of an alliance against it on Tuesday, April 9, 2024.

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. said at the launch of the Cebu Movement against Tyranny and Charter Change Tuesday that the 1987 Constitution is the only Constitution in the Philippines that is pro-God, pro-people, pro-Filipino, pro-poor, pro-environment, pro-youth and pro-women. Davide was part of the Constitutional Commission of 1986 that framed and formulated the current Constitution.

Over the years, some legislators have made attempts to change the 1987 Constitution, highlighting the need to amend economic provisions to remove constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership. But all these attempts failed amid popular distrust of politicians who, the public believes, will attempt to amend the charter to extend their terms in office.

In 2023 alone, several bills from both the House of Representatives and the Senate proposed economic amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

Call to fight evil

During the launch of the movement, Davide warned that Cha-cha would threaten the country’s sovereignty, patrimony and economic independence and that the ultimate agenda was perpetuation in power.

In his speech, Davide said: “We should be watchful of the tyranny in our government. Should we continue to move, we should collectively move to fight these kinds of evil. Panahon na karon para pugngan ang tyraniya nga nagpadayon sa atong nasud. Any kind of Charter change is a lethal decision, a cruel punishment to the God-loving and democracy-thriving Filipinos. The Cha-cha is a dance to death.”

“Dili na alternatibo (That’s not an alternative). As a matter of fact, that (1987 Constitution) should be enforced. Implement the Constitution and solve all the problems that we are facing now, massive corruption, massive poverty, massive unemployment, massive political dynasticism ug unsa pa diha nga (and whatever else that is) massive [like] traffic, criminalities, injustices,” Davide said.

“So ang solusyon (the solution is to) improve the facilities, improve the functions of the government, do everything that should be done by public servants,” he said.

The launching of the Cebu Movement against Tyranny and Charter Change was held at the Aula Magna Hall of the Sto. Niño Pilgrim Center, Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino de Cebu. Its stand is centered on uniting “democracy and freedom-loving Cebuanos” against the proposed amendment of the 1987 Constitution in Congress through an alliance of the church, academe, legal sector and civil society organizations.

The conveners include Archdiocese of Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) West Visayas Jurisdictional Area Bishop Fely Tenchavez, Iglesia Filipina Independiente Cebu Bishop Alger Loyao Sr., Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Social Advocacies vicar Fr. Nazario “Ace” Vocales, Bayan Muna Central Visayas coordinator John Ruiz III, Alliance of Concerned Teachers Region 7 Union Coordinator April Dyan Gumanao, National Union of People’s Lawyers Cebu secretary-general Mel Domini Ebo, National Union of Students of the Philippines coordinator Cleisteil Cimafranca, Order of Friars Minor Fr. Allan Arcebuche, Free Legal Assistance Group convenor Retired Judge Meinrado Paredes, UCCP convenor Rev. Raymond Gelloagan, SVD Southern Philippines convenor Fr. Rogelio Bag-ao, Sanlakas convenor Teody Navea, University of San Carlos Department of Sociology and Anthropology professor Dr. Leni Ocasiones, Bayan Central Visayas chairperson Jaime Paglinawan, Karapatan Central Visayas spokesperson Dennis Abarientos, All UP Academic Employees Union UP Cebu Chapter president Dr. Regletto Imbong, and Piston-Cebu chairperson Greg Perez.

In a statement, retired Judge Paredes also warned that this Cha-cha could heighten poverty and inequality in the country, hurting farmers, workers, the urban poor, the youth and other marginalized groups.

Archbishop Palma said the pursuit of a just and humane society is achievable, testament to which is the 1987 Constitution.

“Time and again, some people who hold power in our land would like to change and amend it... Fellow kindred spirits, we consider it our duty to speak truth to power -- to raise our voices to these people in power who might be ‘imprisoned in their good conscience.’ Hence, we seek to educate and not to tolerate, to speak and not to stay silent,” Palma said.

After the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., father of the Philippines’ current president, was ousted in the 1986 People Power Revolt, the 1987 Constitution adopted during President Corazon Aquino’s term restored the presidential system of government, a bicameral Congress and the ban on presidential reelection. / EHP, CTL


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