EDITORIAL - Undue haste
none (The Philippine Star) - January 18, 2018 - 12:00am

The basic law of the land must change with the times. Framers of the post-EDSA “Freedom Constitution” recognized this and included provisions for amending or rewriting the Charter. The Cha-cha process, however, cannot be rushed, especially if the envisioned changes include a shift to another form of government.

Previous attempts to ram Cha-cha down the nation’s throat, such as through the collection of signatures under a people’s initiative, were doomed by the haste and the lack of safeguards for authenticating the signatures. The defense chief during the Arroyo administration, Avelino Cruz, described the people’s initiative for Cha-cha at the time as “constitutionally infirm” and “a legally harebrained idea.” Cruz resigned shortly from the Cabinet of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the people’s initiative was buried.

Constitutional experts have said specific provisions of the Charter may be amended through a quick and relatively simple process, with Congress deliberating on the proposed changes as if these were legislative measures. These provisions can include economic restrictions that have weakened national competitiveness in a globalized environment.

Changing the form of government, on the other hand, calls for a major overhaul of the Charter. The other day, by a mere voice vote among 186 members, the super majority in the House of Representatives launched the latest Cha-cha effort, adopting a resolution to convene a constituent assembly that will work on the proposed shift to a federal system.

Fortunately for the nation, the other party in the proposed constituent assembly is in no hurry to dance the Cha-cha the way the House wants it. Yesterday, senators made it clear that the chamber would move with caution on Cha-cha and the proposed change in the form of government. Gathering opinions from constitutional experts, the senators concluded that they didn’t have to be dragged into any attempt to railroad Charter change. Undue haste can only derail the Cha-cha train.

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