Colmenares wonders why FPRRD opposed Cha-cha

Lawyer Neri Colmenares attends the No to Cha-Cha Davao Network event on March 14, 2024 in Davao City.
Lawyer Neri Colmenares attends the No to Cha-Cha Davao Network event on March 14, 2024 in Davao City.David Ezra Francisquete/SunStar Photo

NERI Colmenares, a human rights lawyer and a long-time chairperson of Bayan Muna Partylist, expressed his confusion as to why former president Rodrigo Roa Duterte opposed Charter Change (Cha-Cha) when he even pushed for seven bills related to the constitutional amendment, particularly on economic reforms.

Colmenares, who is also a human rights adviser at the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, visited Davao City to be the guest speaker for the No to Cha-Cha Davao Network which was attended by 200 participants from different organizations and groups on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

In a face-to-face interview, the official cited that despite the push for revision of the Charter, it will still impact the social and economic landscape in the country when foreigners gain control.

"To be honest I don't know what their particular anti-Cha-cha point is. The problem is former President Duterte was pro-Cha-cha during his time. In fact, he had seven bills for the amendment of the Constitution and some of those bills opened the economy to foreigners. So, hindi ko alam kung saan siya nag-anti-Cha-cha (I wouldn't know where he was opposing Cha-cha) when he was in fact proposing Ccha-cha during his term," Colmenares revealed.

To recall, the lawyer pointed out that the change in stance of Duterte to Cha-cha was inconsistent.

According to Colmenares, Duterte might be opposing Marcos because of the threat of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in line with the supposed investigation of his alleged crimes and the extra-judicial killings during his administration from 2015 to 2022. 

"Cha-cha is just the official reason, but the main reason is nagduda talaga si Duterte na dumating dito ang ICC at pinayagan talaga ng mga Marcos (Duterte thinks that ICC would come and Marcos allows it)," Colmenares explained in a press conference on February 2.

"He is afraid of the ICC despite his statements na (that) ‘I am ready to go to prison’, ‘I'm ready to die’, etc. He's afraid, and they worry that if they're going to be crippled, one of the ways to cripple them before 2028 is to have him arrested," Colmenares recalled. 

Cha-cha has been a huge issue these past weeks due to the People's Initiative or the signature campaign in which several Filipino people have participated. 

The former highest official of the country has criticized the current administration for pushing Cha-cha through the People's Initiative as a way to amend provisions in the Constitution.

“We have a good Constitution. I find it in perfect condition. I find nothing wrong with it,” Duterte said.

On the other hand, Colmenares shared his thoughts on Cha-cha and how it will benefit the Filipino people. 

"Sa amin naman we don't look at, kami ang Cha-cha namin is not the basis of the political fortunes of anybody (For us, we don't look at Cha-cha on the basis of political fortunes of anybody), any political party did not matter. Ang Cha-cha namin na position (Our stance on Cha-cha) is on the issue of whether or not this is good for the Filipino people in general, rather than good or not good for a particular candidate," he concluded. DEF with reports from Mary Cris Eusebio, DNSC Intern

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