Press Release
February 4, 2009


As the House revs up its charter change move today, opposition Senator Chiz Escudero vowed once more to block any move to pursue charter change in the Senate for as long as he is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments.

"I will not touch that even at an arm's length while I am the head of the committee," he said in a statement on Wednesday. "Why are they insisting on pushing for this now? Why not at the start of her term? This administration cannot play it sleek and smooth, its propensity to burnish its ambition beyond its term limit is so gross," Escudero said.

Escudero said the administration's move to continue to pursue charter change reeks of self-serving reasons, especially because the Arroyo administration's term ends in less than 18 months.

Last year, Escudero refused to entertain an inter-chamber dialogue on charter-change after the House leadership suggested that the lower chamber can go at it alone in changing the Constitution.

"I still maintain my position that any move to revise or amend the Constitution will require a separate vote by both chambers," he emphasized.

"Any bill, however mundane, necessitates the endurance and satisfaction of the processes and requisites mandated by the Constitution, which says that the Senate and the Congress vote separately. It works the same for a big and delicate move such as amending the constitution."

For those who push for cha-cha, Escudero challenged them to exactly define exactly what they want changed in the charter.

"Will they please write what they specifically want to change in the constitution? Not on vague and general terms like economic provision, parliamentary form or federal form of government. Details have to be combed because even periods, commas or hyphenations in the Constitution matter," he said.

Escudero said he is not totally averse to charter change. "If and when we need to amend the Constitution, we should do it at the start of a new administration to dispel any doubts about personal motives and agendas," he stressed.

He said as chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, he will not negotiate and compromise the powers and prerogatives of the Senate as an institution.

"Those who push cha-cha in the House seem oblivious to the present predicament of the people. The people want to hear and see from their representatives what they are doing to cushion the impact of economic woes currently besetting every Filipino family," Escudero said.

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