Press Release
December 15, 2006


Referendum on Charter change simultaneous
with May 2007 elections, an option

With the questionable moves to amend the Constitution now buried six-feet-under, Senate President Manny Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party, today proposed that the government might as well consider the idea of holding a referendum simultaneous with the May 2007 to get the peoples view on such a very delicate issue as amending the Constitution.

Villar came out with this suggestion as he welcomed President Arroyos decision to drop altogether her administrations Charter change agenda, in the face of overwhelming public protests.

Villar said, it was good that the President woke up to reality that the people are against Charter change at this time. Its a good thing that the President came to abreast with the reality that the people do not want any tinkering with the constitution at this time. With this, we can now move forward and we expect things to return to normal, he said.

Villar said that with this closure, the administration should now let the people decide on whether or not the Constitution should be amended, and by which of the three modes provided for in the Charter peoples initiative, through an act of Congress, or through a Constitutional Convention or Con-Con.

I think we should now consider asking the people in the May elections what they truly want. First do they want amendments? And second, what mode of amending the Constitution do they prefer? If we can get a clear and direct response from our people, then we will have no problems with Charter change. Sundin na lang natin kung ano ang gusto ng tao para hindi na tayo mag-away-away, the Senate President said.

Villar said a referendum on this issue, simultaneous with the May 2007 elections, could be done if the administration would will it.

He maintained that amending the constitution is an undertaking that should not be rushed.

Villar said that with only a week of session left for Congress before it adjourns for a Christmas break, time has run out for Chacha or any similar proposal for that matter.

Its Christmas time and there is no more time to amend the Constitution before the May 2007 elections, he said.

Villar said the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments chaired by Senator Richard Gordon will continue with its hearings on chacha.

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