Let’s make our Constitution work
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2014 - 12:00am

Charter change is a phenomenon not new to Filipinos. And, if my recollection serves me right, it has been a constant threat to the stability of this nation through every administration, from Ramos to Estrada, to Arroyo, to the present Aquino regime.

Amid new pronouncements to amend the Constitution, ratified by no less than 76% of Filipinos in 1987, Kapatiran Party states its opposition to any such move.

JC de los Reyes best articulated this party’s position when he pleaded to give our Constitution a chance:

“It was Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General, who propounded: “Most faults are not in our Constitution but in ourselves.”

“Any amendment or revision in the Constitution is an issue subsidiary to the more essential question of good faith or the lack of it.

“How those belonging to the majority party – in the present administration and legislature - respect and adhere to the supreme law of the land give us a clue as to their motivations.

“More telling is how they disregard widespread public opinion to further their questionable agenda.

“If good faith is the measure, then they have utterly failed. They want constitutional change but their manner and method is glaringly dubious. They speak of hope and economic prosperity yet there has been a continuing silence on justice and equity. Many times, truth and justice had to yield to political expediency and opportunism. Charter change will not help and heal this suffering nation whose wounds they themselves inflict.

“There is a need to remind these elected big shots that it is ultimately about the good of the Filipino people, a good that must be built on a foundation of genuine love and public service, not immoral compromises.

“The most overwhelming problem this country faces is not the form of government, but those in government — that inbred culture which allows unbridled corruption causing enslaving poverty. All these weaken and haunt our institutions that further structural injustices. At the end of the day, it is all about greed, maintaining material wealth, political influence and power.

“We must then conclude that there indeed is a moral problem in need of a moral solution, and the irony of ironies? It is in giving our Constitution a chance to take shape and come into its own, whose promise is yet to be realized in the minds and hearts of Filipinos where it may ‘develop its sinews and gather its strength.’ This is where the moral challenge lies.”

Sad to say, the lack if not the utter absence of morality among our leaders makes it imperative for us citizens to wrest from them the fundamental principles according to which this nation should be governed.

Among the many innovations in the 1987 Philippine Constitution, one facet of the fundamental law stands out among the rest, and this is the right given to the people through people’s initiative – in directly proposing and enacting laws or approving or rejecting any act or law, subsequently enshrined in RA 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act of 1989.

The people’s initiative to enact a national legislation prohibiting political dynasty is a first in the history of RA 6735, which affirms the principle on sovereignty. The first may be difficult to organize and undertake but, if we as a people shall succeed, the next ones should be easy.  What we, Filipinos, need to do is to exercise this right, to make this people’s initiative law work for us, and to take affirmative action for the common good.

Every Filipino needs to know about this initiative. 

If we work fast, if we work hard, if we work smart, and most importantly if we work together, this first-ever people’s initiative can be achieved. It will signal the dawn of radical changes in Philippine society, for there can and there shall be subsequent exercises of this very powerful right to institutionalize other needed, genuine reforms that the very leaders of this nation for decades have denied its people.

Let’s make our Constitution work! – Norman V. Cabrera, nv_cabrera2003@yahoo.com





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