Imee won’t let anyone squander Marcoses’ redemption

Marc Jayson Cayabyab - The Philippine Star
Imee won�t let anyone squander Marcoses� redemption
Senator Imee Marcos on January 31, 2024.
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines —  Saying her family has suffered enough for decades, Sen. Imee Marcos said she would never let anyone – including her cousin, Speaker Martin Romualdez – spoil her family’s redemption through his “deceptive” way of pushing for Charter change.

In an interview over ANC, Marcos dismissed claims that her word war with Romualdez over the latest Charter change move was just a “family squabble.”

“This is no mere family squabble. We’re talking about the Republic and the Constitution, and the heart and soul of democracy here in our country,” Marcos said.

She accused her cousin of squandering their family’s chances of redemption after the people power revolt that chased them into exile in February 1986.

Marcos said she finds it “ironic” that she is defending the “vindictive” 1987 Constitution that was crafted after the downfall of her father.

“Whoever is pushing for this – whether a blood relative or not – I would oppose it,” Marcos said.

The senator, in the interview, recalled her family’s struggles after her father’s ouster and their exile to Hawaii.

Now that her brother – and their father’s namesake – is in Malacañang, the senator and older sister to the President said she would not allow their family’s second chance to go to waste.

“We are the most fortunate family on earth. We really fought hard for this second chance 36 years since we were exiled. Perhaps this is the last chance for my family to redeem itself,” Marcos said. “Family ties no longer have anything to do with this.”

Marcos on Tuesday led the Senate electoral reforms committee inquiry into allegations of irregularity in the latest push by the People’s Initiative for Modernization and Reform Action (PIRMA) to gather public support – through signature drive – for Congress to convene as a constituent assembly or con-ass. The con-ass envisioned by congressmen would have Congress voting jointly on proposed amendments. The Senate opposed the joint vote, as it would certainly dissolve its 24 member-votes.

At the hearing, Marcos presented pictures of a meeting at the Speaker’s house with PIRMA officials, to prove that her cousin bankrolled the campaign and mobilized lawmakers to gather signatures in the districts.

The launch of the “deceptive” people’s initiative, meanwhile, has also sparked concerns among Catholic prelates, with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issuing a pastoral statement questioning the motives of proponents.

“We are concerned about the reports of signatures gathered across the country for a so-called People’s Initiative. Many could sign for various reasons, but it is clear that their signing is not the result of a careful study and discussion,” CBCP president and Kalookan Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said.

“It seems that this People’s Initiative was initiated by a few public servants and not truly from the initiative of ordinary citizens. If that is the case, it involves deception and disregard for our true and free participation in the democratic process of our country,” he said.

“Our prayer is that we will not sign or agree to any petition without careful discernment, discussion, and prayer. Let us not allow such deceptive systems to continue, encouraging those who continuously exploit our nation. Truly, this is not good,” he added. The prelate also reminded the people that what they’re giving PI proponents is “not a simple signature.”

“By signing, you are giving our lawmakers the power to change our Constitution. The discussion may focus on economic aspects, but even senators acknowledge the possibility of broader changes if this People’s Initiative succeeds,” he pointed out.

David said that contrary to PI proponents’ claim that Charter change is meant  to address economic concerns, “many economists and sociologists point out that our Constitution is not the real hindrance to our progress.”

Group backs BBM’s call to stop people’s initiative

Leaders and members of the Christian-Muslim Democratic Coalition (CMDC) yesterday expressed support to President Marcos’ call to stop the people’s initiative as it would only cause the disintegration of the country.

CMDC secretary general Bobby Brillante said real people’s initiative comes from the people and not from politicians.

“We join the President in calling the House of Representatives to stop the move,” said Brillante during the group’s consultative assembly in Taguig City.

“When we say people’s initiative, the people themselves rising together and asking for constitutional amendments but what is needed is the people agreeing, what kind of amendments are these,” he added.

The group pointed out that the President should be given time to fulfill his promises during the campaign.

The CMDC boasts of eight million members and admitted that they helped former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 and the Bongbong Marcos-Sara Duterte ticket in 2022.

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