Press Release
December 9, 2006


The announcement by House Speaker Jose de Venecia and his closest allies in Congress at a press conference in Makati City yesterday, December 9, giving the Senate a 72-hour deadline to take up its offer of a constitutional convention or be dropped from the congressional debate on charter change through the convening of the Lower House into a constituent assembly is a despicable and cheap attempt at political blackmail.

While we cannot speak on behalf of the Senate as a whole, we believe that no self-respecting member of the Senate would succumb to this crude and brazen arm-twisting by the House leadership and their Malacañang bosses in order for them to effect their desire to change the countrys fundamental law for their own selfish ends. Truly, since Pres. Joseph Estrada was illegally deposed in 2001 the rule of law and decency in our countrys political life has degenerated into plain anarchy where those in power would not hesitate to stoop down to the level of gutter politics and the law of the jungle in order to get their way.

We also maintain that to focus the countrys attention to the pursuit of charter change at this time is not only divisive and wasteful but also catastrophic to the mass of our people with the majority of them still reeling from the disastrous effects of natural calamities on their lives.

Instead of forging national unity and a commonness of purpose, charter change would only further divide and polarize the nation into more warring camps and would also impact negatively on the international community. We shall be an international spectacle that would be the subject of criticism and ridicule as the world bear witness to the political strife besieging our land while our countrymen victimized by the recent typhoons continue to suffer in hunger, disease and neglect.

No amount of sugar-coating and rosy words could hide from our people the true reasons behind charter change: Not economic prosperity and national unity but the perpetuation in power of the incumbents and the erasure of the legitimacy question that continue to hound the regime of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo since her illegal takeover of the presidency from Pres. Joseph Estrada in 2001.

Through the stubborn defiance of Malacañang and the House leadership of the peoples will opposing charter changeas shown in the result of recent surveys on the issuethey are only inviting our countrymen to practice the parliament of the street in the form of peaceful protest actions and other forms of legitimate dissent.

We can only therefore call on the powers-that-be to respect the peaceful demonstrations of the peoples opposition to Cha-Cha, in the same manner that Pres. Estrada respected such rights when he was still in Malacañang .

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