NEWS: ON Cha-Cha for federalism: Cong. Anton wants to consult constituents first; Way Kurat evasive, Olaño, Amatong mum on the issue

Davao del Norte 2nd District Congressman Anton Lagdameo wants to consult his constituents first for his official stand on the proposed charter change (Cha-Cha) via a constituent assembly (Con-Ass) that will be convened to adopt a federal system of government in the country.

But in his personal opinion and if the constitutional amendment will push through should the people so desire, it is best that this will be made through a constituent assembly that is speedy and inexpensive¸ Cong. Lagdameo stated in a text message reply to a text query posed by the press on Thursday.

Here is Lagdameo’s full text: “Bilang representante ng mga taga Davao del Norte sa Kongreso, kailangang konsultahin ko muna kung ano ang nasa puso nila sa usaping ito. Ngunit sa aking personal na opinyon, kung sakali mang matutuloy ang pag-amyenda sa Konstitusyon, ito ay pinakamainam na gawin sa pamamaraang constituent assembly. Ito ay upang mapabilis at maging matipid sa gastos.”

Third-termer 1st District Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora, on the other hand, appears to be evasive into responding to the Con-Ass for federal issue replying only that he has already a position that he can write.

Similar text query was sent to Davao del Norte 1st District Cong. Arrel Olaño and Comval 2nd District Cong. Rommel “Bobong” Amatong but as of 6:00 P.M. Thursday did not receive a reply.

The charter change proposal sparked by Malacanang’s support for Senate Joint Resolution No. 10 has drawn mixed reactions from both the administration and opposition senators and congressmen even as several of them crossed party lines in giving similar reactions.

The resolution principally authored by Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel called for the creation of 11 federal states through a constituent assembly. It was signed in April by 12 senators

Talk of amending the Constitution emerged after the government secretly hammered out last month a Memorandum of Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on ending four decades of fighting in Mindanao that has claimed more than 120,000 lives and displaced 2 million.

The Supreme Court put the brakes on the signing of the MoA in Malaysia on Aug. 5 after local executives got temporary restraining order in protest to the inclusion without consultations of their barangays (villages) in an expanded Bangsamoro homeland.

But the signatories in Senate are now re-thinking their position as most of the senators are opposed to change the Constitution before 2010. Senator Panfilo Lacson has so far withdrawn his support to Senate Resolution 10.

Presidentiables from the senators have all but slammed the Arroyo administration for its renewed bid for Charter change. They included Sen. Manny Villar (Nationalista Party), Sen. Manuel Roxas II (Liberal Party), Sen. Loren Legarda and Sen. Francis Escudero, both of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and Sen. Richard Gordon. .

Even administration senators have crossed party lines to reject Malacañang’s insistence to put in place Cha-cha before the 2010 elections as they are unconvinced over claims that the sudden proposal by the Executive on the matter is aimed at bringing peace in Mindanao.

Palace allies in the upper chamber, Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Joker Arroyo, stood opposed to tinkering with the 1987 Constitution at this time, even if the Executive itself is calling for it.

In Davao City, Press Secretary Jesus Dureza dared yesterday the senators who signed the Senate resolution to defend the measure.

“They should stand firmly on their reform agenda on the creation of federal states,” he told the members of the Bishops Ulama Conference at a meeting Wednesday at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao.

“I was surprised by their (the senators’) reaction but at the same time I was also expecting it,” Dureza said of the senators’ displeasure at Mrs. Arroyo’s expression of support for the resolution.

“How can there be term extension when there is nothing in it that says about it?” he asked. “There is nothing in the resolution that says about term extension. So, how can that benefit the President?”

Saying it should be best left to the people to decide on whether the 1987 Constitution should be revised, amended or otherwise, Speaker Prospero Nograles said he will be issuing a directive to all members of the House of Representatives to get back to their respective districts next week and meet their constituents.

Nograles said that he will ask the lawmakers for an accurate report on whether or not the people want change in the Constitution.

“I want feedback on the ground…It is the people that should decide on the issue, not us the leaders,” Nograles said.

While results of an informal survey of the lawmakers in the House of Representatives showed that 118 out of 129 who signed the form are in favor of the Charter Change, Nograles said that the survey is just the view or opinion of the solons but not the people.

According to Nograles, the issue of Charter Change is very divisive as this requires intense debate in the Congress.

Nograles said he himself will go to his district, Davao City, to convene all the barangay leaders and ask them what is there feeling about the proposal. (Cha Monforte/Rural Urban News) with various reports


One Response to “NEWS: ON Cha-Cha for federalism: Cong. Anton wants to consult constituents first; Way Kurat evasive, Olaño, Amatong mum on the issue”

  1. […] on Mon 22-12-2008 Needed: A Cautious Civil Society Saved by HikariRox11 on Sat 20-12-2008 NEWS: ON Cha-Cha for federalism: Cong. Anton wants to consult … Saved by milmusle on Wed 17-12-2008 Mindanao’s Wrecked Peace Deal Saved by libinhere on Sun […]

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