Press Release
November 20, 2008


Senator Chiz Escudero today said it will be a great miscalculation on the part of Malacañang if emboldened by the leadership shakeup in the Senate if it will launch a "fresh assault on the Constitution so officials with expiring terms can run again.

"If the people in the palace are reading their political tea leaves and they're showing that they have the numbers, then they're wrong," Escudero said.

The senator said there may be a new man on the rostrum but added "there are no new justifications to have charter change at this time".

Despite the revamp in the Senate, the "configuration as to the number of senators who are anti-charter change and those who are in favor of it but are shy in admitting, as far as I know, has not changed".

Escudero has issued this caution after Press Secretary Jesus Dureza let slip a gaffe in an opening prayer during a cabinet meeting last Tuesday where he inserted his "wish" for President Arroyo's stay in power beyond 2010.

"Many people are literally praying for her to stay in power beyond her term. I think that is the new gospel the Palace is trying to preach. Mismong disipulo niyang si Dureza ang nagkanulo sa kaniya," Escudero said.

Escudero, a lawyer with a master's degree in international and comparative law said changes on the 1987 Constitution should be pursued after PGMA's scheduled exit in 2010 to ensure that she will not attempt or be tempted to extend her term.

Despite the "pleas" of Mrs. Arroyo's apostles for divine intercession, Escudero remained firm on his position against charter change this time around.

"It is not needed now and it's not timely. We are facing an economic recession and we are scrambling for recommendations on how to prevent it and charter change is definitely not and should not be part of it".

Escudero said no one in a self-respecting government will say that to stimulate the economy, the Constitution have to be tinkered with. "No one's even saying that to save jobs, we must allow the president to keep hers beyond 2010".

He reiterated his position that if at all, the Constitution should be amended after the president's term to quell doubts that it will be used to extend her term.

"If we do it now then it could end up as a political bailout for the president. Some of her allies will surely throw her a lifeline for another term".

"Haharangin at haharangin ko iyan sa Senado" Escudero ended.

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