Press Release
January 16, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said leaders of the ruling Lakas Christian-Muslim Democrats have set an illusory goal by saying they expect Congress to approve the amendments to the 1987 Constitution, including the adoption of a French-style parliamentary system of government, by the middle of 2006.

Pimentel said he does not see the resolution on Charter Change being approved by the Senate within that time-frame because the senators do not want amendments to be hastily and haphazardly passed.

He said the seven-man minority bloc of senators remain firm in their stand that they will not support Charter Change unless President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo resigns first.

The minority leader lashed out at former President Fidel Ramos and Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. for treating the overhaul of the Constitution like making a quickie, run-of-the-mill movie.

Ramos and De Venecia are good at gimmickry. They think that if they propose something, that is what will happen, Pimentel said. They should stop acting like they were still Marcos minions. Whatever Marcos said was followed, but that was because it was martial law.

Pimentel said Ramos, De Venecia, along with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, should come to their senses and accept the reality they do not have the numbers to push Charter Change in the Senate.

Moreover, he said the 2006 national budget, and not Charter Change, is the priority of the Senate.

Pimentel noted that even Lakas senators who are known to be dependable Arroyo allies have distanced themselves from the administrations plan to rush Charter Change.

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