The cause-oriented group Tindig Pilipinas labeled on Wednesday moves to amend the 1987 Constitution as a means for President Rodrigo Duterte to stay in power. The STAR/Boy Santos, File

'Charter change is Duterte's ploy to stay in power'
Audrey Morallo ( - January 17, 2018 - 9:53pm

MANILA, Philippines — A cause-oriented group on Wednesday claimed that moves to change the 1987 Constitution were just a ploy of President Rodrigo Duterte to stay in power beyond 2022.

Tindig Pilipinas said that amending the Constitution to pave the way for a federal form of government would enable the president to stay in power, amass more money and protect himself and his allies from prosecution.

"Charter Change is Duterte’s way of staying in power because he wants to amass more money and shield himself and his incompetent and traitorous allies from the inevitable processes of justice," the group said in a statement.

"For all his failures, corruption and criminal acts the man has nowhere to go but seek to stay in power by avoiding elections, declaring a revolutionary government or changing the Constitution so they can stay in power," it added.

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The group urged the president to stop taking Filipinos for "fools" whom he could "cajole or curse into submission" by giving "nauseating" claims that he would step down from the presidency under certain conditions.

He said that talks of a revolutionary government, an extension of martial law in the whole country, assault on the judiciary and attacks on media organizations were just part of his scheme to stay in power.

Tindig Pilipinas enumerated the broken promise of Duterte to resign if he was not able to end criminality in three to six months or if there was a whiff of corruption in his family.

"Give it up if there is a whiff of corruption? Did you resign over your bank accounts containing wealth beyond your capacity to earn it on your salary? Did you resign when your son was implicated in P6.4 B pesos shabu smuggling? Did you even manage to sign a waiver?," the scathing statement said.

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Tindig Pilipinas said that efforts to change the Constitution were just "self-serving" and branded the president and his men as "hypocrites" and "villains" for pretending to seek changes in the structure of the government for the common good.

"Duterte, his family and his cohorts are merely another set of contrabida in the endless saga of a nation that cannot rise from poverty because its leaders and elites seek only to aggrandize themselves. Apart from its outstanding hypocrisy however, this group distinguishes itself by its rapaciousness, impunity and narcissism," the group said.

It also defended the 1987 Constitution which it said upholds democratic principles such as the separation of powers, checks and balances in government and institution of agencies that would uphold human rights and fight corruption.

Tindig Pilipinas said, "It also enshrines a bill of rights that upholds the inalienable and indivisible safeguards that allow every Filipino to live a life of dignity. That includes, the freedom of the press."

The House of Representatives on Tuesday night adopted a resolution convening Congress into a constituent assembly in preparation for its work on changing the charter.

Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, chairman of the committee on constitutional amendments, said that the resolution would be sent for concurrence to the Senate, which has vowed to boycott the process.

Senators stressed that they would insist on separate voting if a constituent assembly would be chosen as the mode for changing the Constitution.REA

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