MANILA. Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines president Bishop Pablo David.
MANILA. Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines president Bishop Pablo David. File photo

CBCP warns: Charter change poses risk of authoritarianism

A DAY after calling the ongoing People's Initiative (PI) drive as being "deceptive" and "not good," the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) continued to warn the Filipino faithful to oppose Charter change (Cha-cha), as it may push the country into the "slippery slope towards authoritarianism."

In an online press conference Friday, February 2, 2024, CBCP president Bishop Pablo David said Filipinos must not allow a repeat of the dark past, while making reference to the Martial Law under the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr., the father of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

"We don’t want to fall again into the slippery slope towards authoritarianism. We already had this tragic experience in the past. We don't want a repeat of that," said David.

"Our current government functions through the Constitution borne out of a movement against authoritarianism. We should look at this a huge blessing. Because of our traumatic background, we should make sure that we won't be tricked again and in the guise of wanting to amend the Constitution," he added.

The CBCP chief said what makes the Cha-cha moves more unacceptable is the lack of clarity of its purpose.

David noted how the PI drive came out of nowhere without any extensive discussions on the 1987 Constitution and the supposed problems it carries.

"This move towards amending the Constitution through the People's Initiative, it really leaves a very bad taste. It doesn't look good," he said.

"There is a need to show us that there is really sincerity and goodwill in these moves. It really looks being forcibly done to amend the Constitution. What is the problem anyway? Why not talk about the problems first? Why are we jumping towards the solution?" added David.

In a statement released after the 127th CBCP Plenary Assembly held over the weekend, the CBCP said the public should be careful against the ongoing drive to gather signatures in support of the PI as it allegedly involves the deception of the faithful.

For his part, CBCP vice president Bishop Mylo Hubert Vergara said their Statement will be cascaded down to every dioceses, archdioceses, and parishes in a bid to heighten public awareness.

He said the clergy will also expand the information dissemination in schools and Basic Ecclesial Communities.

"We're already doing it for our circles of discernment because there must be enlightenment. The youth has a huge role today in ensuring everyone is aware of current issues," said Vergara. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)

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