Letters to the Editor

A matter of trust

The Philippine Star

I’m keeping an open mind on this issue of Charter change, trying very hard to filter out the heated exchanges and accusations in the discussions on amending/revising the Constitution.

First of all, there is the difference between amending and revising, legalists point out. Amending is supposed to be just making minor corrections, while revising implies bigger changes. The much talked about controversial people’s initiative can only amend, not revise, the Constitution, it has been pointed out.

On the surface, everyone is saying that only the economic provisions will be amended, to allow greater foreign participation in things like education, advertising and media in order to create jobs, improve standards, allow greater access to the global market. There seems to be no argument here, but some have said this is already addressed by several laws passed in the last few years (CREATE, Public Services law, etc.).

So if it is just to tackle the economic provisions, why is there so much brouhaha – from senators, from the people, from civic groups, etc.? I will say it’s a matter of trust – or the lack of it. Senators do not trust the members of the House, believing they (senators) will be annihilated by joint voting…300+ vs 24 is surely lopsided.

Other than the senators, those who are opposed to Cha-cha feel that proponents of PI have ulterior, sinister motives – term extension, change in the form of government, etc. – all to their political benefit to perpetuate their grip on power and position. In short, the people do not trust the lawmakers behind this big push.

I can’t say I blame them; many – most? – of our politicians indeed cannot be trusted to put the public’s welfare above their own interests. Once the process get going, what is the guarantee that other provisions will not be slipped in, political provisions that only benefit those in power?

While I tend to agree that economic provisions as they are now are outdated and need to be amended, if these can be done by legislation, why go through Cha-cha which is a lot more complicated and expensive (a plebiscite is needed)? — George C. Villa, makati city

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