charter change

No political amendments in charter change push? Marcos’ adviser Gadon suggests otherwise

Dwight de Leon

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No political amendments in charter change push? Marcos’ adviser Gadon suggests otherwise

DISBARRED LAWYER. Larry Gadon answers questions from the media ahead of the Marcos-Duterte proclamation rally, on February 8, 2022, at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan.

Larry Gadon, who now holds an important post in Malacañang, is pushing for divisive political amendments in the 1987 Constitution. He claims his boss, President Marcos, has nothing to do with this.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and charter change advocates under his administration have constantly denied wanting to touch on political provisions of the 1987 Constitution, but not one of his men in Malacañang.

Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation Larry Gadon went to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, April 3, delivering a letter that urges the leader of the two chambers of Congress to consider expanding the current charter change agenda beyond economic provisions.

We’re talking about longer terms of office, a larger Senate, and a new system of government – proposals that undermined charter change efforts under previous administrations.

“Certain political provisions have proven to be costly and redundant, and amending them could lead to improved governance and greater benefits for the people,” Gadon wrote in his letter addressed to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

His “humble suggestions” include:

  • Extending a single term of local officials – district lawmakers, governors, vice governors, board members, mayors, vice mayors, and councilors – from three to six years
  • Increasing the number of senators from 28 to 48 “to enhance efficiency,” arguing that a larger Senate means fewer committee assignments for each lawmaker
  • Shifting to a parliamentary form of government, with the Senate president and House speaker sharing the title of prime minister
  • Making the president head of state, military commander-in-chief, and head of foreign relations, with the power to appoint members of the judiciary and constitutional commissions
  • Letting the public elect the president and vice president as a single team

“Charter change is a rare opportunity that demands meaningful changes benefiting our nation and future generations. Let us seize this moment to enact comprehensive reforms,” Gadon insisted.

On his own volition

Gadon said the President was unaware that his presidential adviser would ask Congress to consider his suggestions on charter change.

“I am exercising my right as a Filipino desiring a better future for the country,” he said.

Marcos has flip-flopped on charter change, from saying last year that it was not his priority, to admitting his administration is keen on amending the Constitution’s economic provisions.

In a television interview in January, he did not close his doors to the idea of modifying the charter’s political provisions, but said he would rather have discussions on term limits at a later time.

Marcos Jr.’s father – the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos – successfully changed the Constitution during his time as president, which, according to the Martial Law Museum, allowed him to stay in power beyond the two four-year terms provided in the 1935 Constitution. He ran the country from 1965 to 1986, stepping down only after being ousted by the EDSA People Power Revolution.

The President appointed Gadon as one of his advisers in June 2023. The foul-mouthed former lawyer – disbarred by the Supreme Court that same month – has always branded himself as a true-blooded Marcos loyalist.

He claimed history has always been biased for the political rivals of the Marcoses – the Aquinos, and said the Marcos family does not need to apologize for the human rights violations committed during the patriarch’s martial rule.

Gadon has had a long history of making headlines for his outlandish remarks and actions – he once called supporters of an embattled chief justice “bobo” (stupid) and raised his middle finger at them – and the media have learned not to always echo his comments over the years.

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But now that he’s a presidential adviser pushing for divisive charter change amendments – whether it’s for genuine intentions or a mere cry for attention – it’s difficult to look the other way. –

1 comment

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  1. ET

    Even if Gadon does not hold the presidential advisory position, the fact that he claims to be a “true-blooded Marcos loyalist” makes it easy to suspect who the mastermind behind such a move is. His push for such divisive charter change amendments thickens the plot of the Political Theatrics in our country. As long as the combined greed for power, fame, and wealth dominates our society, it will always be this way.

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.