Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. (PMPI) expresses alarm over reports that a campaign to amend our Constitution through the people’s initiative has begun.
Various accounts have alleged that payment or aid is being used to lure people to sign documents to push for the so-called charter change through a people’s initiative. Worse, there are reports that local government officials have facilitated these alleged campaigns for signatures.
Through the years, there have been attempts to change our Constitution. The PMPI Network has been vocal in its opposition to proposed amendments or revisions to our Constitution, especially those motivated not by a genuine need for change but by selfish and vested interests.
We must always ask who will benefit from amending or revising our Constitution. We must ensure that any change would not result in changes that would put our Constitution at the mercy of the whims of a few.
We remind our lawmakers and government executives that in a People’s Initiative, the people must be the true authors of the proposal. If anyone would support it by signing, one must clearly understand the nature and implications of the proposed amendment. We must remember that a people’s initiative should not utilize government funds. An alleged campaign for a people’s initiative that uses public funds to supposedly gather support is questionable at best.
We caution that a proposed amendment to change the voting of Congress in Constitutional amendments and revisions now could possibly lead to an easier way for those who may have other motives, to change other provisions in our constitution, such as that of foreign ownership of land and businesses critical to national and economic security, as well as terms of offices by the Lawmakers and even the President.
We call on the people to protect our Constitution.
Our present constitution is a product of our experience with the tyrannical and dictatorial regime of Marcos. It ensures that the same experience will not be repeated again. Although a constitution can never be static and should adapt to the challenges and realities of all the members within its ecosystems, we must ensure that any amendment is towards the building of a just and democratic society that promotes social and ecological justice, and values the dignity of all beings in its territory.
We urge the public to be cautious and not sign these papers without properly understanding the documents presented.
We must remain vigilant that the people’s power, vested in us by our Constitution, will not be instrumentalized and used against our best interest as a nation.