Charter change: The good, the bad, and the political

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Charter change: The good, the bad, and the political
Rappler talks to Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice and Valenzuela City Representative Sherwin Gatchalian on President Aquino's push for amendments to the Constitution

MANILA, Philippines – Rappler talked to Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice and  Valenzuela City Representative Sherwin Gatchalian.

Erice is one of the congressmen who support the President’s recent pronouncement favoring amendments to the Constitution – primarily to be allowed to seek a second term and to clip the powers of the Supreme Court. 

“The President cannot just let the process of transformation and progress be wasted,” Erice had said.

Gatchalian, a stalwart of the Nationalist People’s Coalition says extending Aquino’s term would be “political suicide,” claiming then president Fidel Ramos had committed “political suicide” by pursuing Charter change at the final stretch of his administration.

“What happened to FVR (former president Fidel V Ramos) then was political suicide because all the economic gains of his administration, including the attainment of a tiger economy was put to waste because the Ramos administration focused on cha-cha during the homestretch instead of sustaining the nation’s march into a newly-industrialized country or NIC,” Gatchalian said.

President Benigno Aquino III had previously rejected the the idea of amending the Constitution, but he recently had a change of heart, citing his recent clash with the Supreme Court when it declared partially unconstitutional his government’s Disbursement Acceleration Program. “The balance between the 3 branches of government seems to be gone. Congress and the executive, we do our jobs, but anytime, you can be castigated,” Aquino said. 

The 1987 Constitution prohibits the president from seeking re-election. Yet, referring to a possible second term, Aquino said, “Of course, my bosses, I have to listen to them.” (READ: Aquino now open to Charter change, 2nd term)

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has expressed interest in running for President in 2016, said changing the political provisions of the Constitution would be – quote – “destabilizing and divisive.” Some senators and congressmen – Erice among them – have also voiced their varying opinions on the proposed charter change. (READ: Lawmakers on Aquino 2nd term: Good move or political suicide?).


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