Press Release
November 24, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr., chairman of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) today advised Malacañang and its congressional allies to spare themselves from the risk of being repudiated by the Supreme Court for the second time on the issue of Charter Change by laying off their plan to convene a Constituent Assembly based on a constitutionally-flawed formula.

Pimentel said Palace officials and leaders of the House of Representatives should be forthright enough to admit that Charter Change is now dead as a result of the Supreme Courts dismissal of the petition for peoples initiative filed by the Sigaw ng Bayan.

He said Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio and Speaker Jose de Venecia, Jr. are bluffing by insisting there is still time to amend the Constitution and adopt a unicameral parliamentary system before Congress adjourns on December 22.

Efforts by the Palace and the House leadership to resurrect Charter Change by converting Congress into a Constituent Assembly are bound to fail because they continue to cling to their outlandish formula that the House can do it alone and ignore the Senate, the minority leader said.

Likewise, Charter Change is now an exercise in futility since it has been overtaken by the forthcoming 2007 congressional elections.

De Venecia and company subscribe to the belief that amendments to the Constitution should be made by a three-fourths votes of all the members of the Senate and House voting jointly.

The deadlock over the issue remains unresolved as the senators maintain that all amendments should be voted upon separately by the Senate and House.

Pimentel said the hardline position taken by Speaker De Venecia and other administration congressmen on the issue betrays their hidden, sinister agenda behind Charter Change at the expense of the peoples interest and democratic rights.

He said their agenda is to install an Interim Parliament composed of incumbent congressmen and senators that will remain under the control of administration allies.

Coupled with this agenda, according to Pimentel, is the scrapping of the 2007 elections under the pretext that the Interim Parliament will still be preoccupied with its task of laying down the mechanics and structure of a parliamentary system as embodied in the draft resolution on Charter Change.

In other words, they are moving heaven and earth to install a parliamentary system in order to do away with the 2007 congressional elections to avert a crushing defeat of administration candidates.

On De Venecias claim that at least 195 congressmen (three-fourths of the House membership) have already signed the Charter Change resolution, Pimentel said the House speaker is engaged in another deception, since many of the congressmen signed the document with the understanding that the Senate and House will vote separately on the amendments.

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