Press Release
July 26, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos admission that there are funds for Charter Change in her state of the nation address belies the administrations insistence that lack of money prevents it from endorsing Constitutional Convention as a mode for amending the Constitution.

Pimentel said the Presidents assurance of availability of funds for Charter Change and election automation in her SONA before members of Congress and other political leaders leaves no doubt about her determination to push for her administrations plan to put in place a unicameral parliamentary system as a way out from the never-ending crisis over the legitimacy of her presidency.

While majority of the senators and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines favor the holding of a Con Con, the administration has shot down the proposal because of the huge expenses it entails.

Instead, the President and her allies prefer either a Constituent Assembly (composed of incumbent senators and congressman) or a peoples initiative to amend the Charter.

But whether it is a Con Con or Constituent Assembly, the thing is that the Constitution should not be revised while Gloria is there. She will manipulate the Con Con or Constituent Assembly and the results would be beneficial to her and her coterie of bootlickers, Pimentel said.

Pimentel also said Cha Cha is practically dead, not only because of the resistance of majority of Filipinos but also because time has run out for such exercise.

Due to the delay in the verification of signatures for the peoples initiative for Charter Change, the administration through the Sigaw ng Bayan coalition, has moved to December the holding of a nationwide plebiscite for proposed amendments.

But Pimentel said by that time the Commission on Elections, political parties and candidates will already be very busy preparing for the 2007 congressional and local elections under the existing presidential system.

I doubt it very much whether that plan will succeed. Time is of the essence and it will not permit the holding of such exercise, he said.

Pimentel also said that the senators have not changed their collective stand against the proposal of the administration congressmen for the Senate and House of Representatives to vote jointly on all amendments. He said Houses proposal contravenes the Constitution which mandates that the two chambers of Congress should vote separately on all amendments.

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