Press Release
March 27, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today asked Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula to stop bragging that there are several senators who are willing to go along with the administration congressmens move to amend the 1987 Constitution by convening Congress into a constituent assembly.

Pimentel belied the claim of Rep. Jaraula, Chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments and revision of laws, identifying him (Pimentel) as one of seven senators who supposedly can be counted upon to support amending the Constitution to pave the way for the shift from the presidential to parliamentary system of government.

I am for a federal system but not now. No Charter Change while Gloria is in power. She must resign first before Cha-Cha because she is diverting public attention from her misuse of powers and plunder of the economy, he said.

Accusing Jaraula of misrepresentation, Pimentel said while the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), of which he is national Chairman, has been advocating the adoption of a federal system, his position is that Charter Change should be temporarily set aside to prevent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from diverting the peoples attention away and from escaping responsibility from the controversies that have rocked her administration.

First of all, Rep. Jaraula does not speak for me. He has no right to say that I am in favor of Charter Change which they are now trying to pursue, he said.

I am a proponent of the federal system. But I think Charter Change can wait because I do not want Gloria to use it to cover up her misgovernance. I prefer to have Charter Change after Gloria has stepped down.

The lone senator from Mindanao dismissed as baseless Jaraulas claim that at least seven senators will join the Charter Change initiative of the majority congressmen through Constituent Assembly.

No senator will join the congressmens initiative. Pimentel said, especially after the senators unanimously approved last week a resolution that any move to convert Congress into a constituent assembly should be approved by a three-fourths vote of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, voting separately.

Pimentel also said Speaker de Venecia and Jaraula are just bluffing by threatening that the House will go it alone should the Senate keep on blocking Charter Change. To do this, the House majority is trying to solicit 195 signatures, equivalent to three-fourths of 236 members of the House, to convene Congress into a constituent assembly to initiate amendments to the Constitution.

He said if the report of House Minority Leader Francis Escudero is accurate that 51 congressmen have signed a resolution opposing the convening of Congress into a constituent assembly, then the De Venecia-Jaraula move to overcome Senate resistance to Charter Change is practically dead.

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