Press Release
December 3, 2008


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today filed a bill seeking to convene a constitutional convention to amend the 1987 Constitution, leading the Senate's move to counter parallel plans by Malacañang allies in the House of Representatives to ram through constitutional changes without the Upper Chamber's consent.

Roxas said the call for a constitutional convention to be elected along with other national and local officials in the 2010 elections is more practical and resolves the dispute on when and how the Constitution should be amended.

"Kung nais ng Malacañang na baguhin ang Saligang Batas para sa kapakanan ng bayan, dapat ay gawin na ito kasabay ng susunod na halalan sa 2010. Sa ganoong paraan, ang Charter change ay hindi gagamitin para pahabain ang termino ni Pangulong Arroyo (If Malacañang really wants to change the Constitution for the people's benefit, then this will be done at the same time as the 2010 election. In this way, Charter change will not be used to lengthen President Arroyo's term)," he said.

Roxas had earlier vowed to join street protests against attempts by Malacanang's allies in the House to force passage of what he called the "Gloria Forever" Constitution that he said would extend President Arroyo's term of office beyond 2010.

The Liberal Party headed by Roxas had called on Malacañang to stop attempts of its political allies to railroad passage of the "Gloria Forever" Constitution, saying it would only perpetuate the regime of corruption, poverty and indifference to the rule of law in the country.

His Senate Bill No. 2923 proposes the election of two con-con delegates from each legislative district simultaneous with the 2010 national elections. The convention will then be given one year to draft its proposed amendments to the Constitution, after which a plebiscite will be held for ratification.

By electing Con-con delegates, the public themselves will have a hand in deciding what changes to the Constitution will be done, since candidates to the convention will be campaigning based on their proposed amendments, according to the LP President.

"During this difficult period characterized by political and economic unrest, it is incumbent that the constitutional reforms be completed through a transparent process that ensures utmost participation by the nation at large," Roxas said in the bill's explanatory note.

"Hindi ako papayag na baguhin ang Saligang Batas ngayon. Tuloy-tuloy itong pagtutol ng Partido Liberal at ng Senado diyan sa Cha-Cha Express na iyan (I will not allow this changing of the Constitution at present. The Liberal Party and the Senate will continue to oppose the Cha-Cha express)," he reiterated.

"Imbes na ekonomiya ang binibigyan ng atensyon ng ating pamahalaan, ang atensyon nila ay nasa Cha-Cha na dead on arrival din naman sa Senado. (Instead of focusing its attention on the economy, the government is focused on this Cha-Cha, which will be dead on arrival at the Senate anyway)," he added..

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