MANILA - House Speaker Prospero Nograles on Friday said the nationwide protests against Charter change (Cha-cha) should oblige the Supreme Court (SC) to immediately rule on the constitutionality of House Resolution (HR) 1109 convening Congress into a Constituent assembly (Con-ass) to amend the Constitution without the participation of the Senate.
“It is my considered legal opinion that due to the public interest generated by Charter change, the Supreme Court may take legal cognizance of the issue and rule on the matter to prevent anymore protests and marches connected with the same,” Nograles said in a statement on Friday.
At least two petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court questioning the validity of HR 1109. Anti-Cha-cha forces have alleged that these petitions are administration efforts aimed at getting a swift ruling from the High Court.
Most charter change critics are delaying moves to question HR 1109 before the Supreme Court. They fear that an early ruling—assuming that the SC will favor joint voting—will give the Arroyo administration time to amend the Constitution. Eleven of the 13 Supreme Court justices are appointees of President Arroyo.
Speculations are rife that President Arroyo wants to stay in power even after her term expires in June 2010.
Opposition forces have alleged that these Charter change moves seek to shift the current presidential form of government to parliamentary. President Arroyo will supposedly run for a parliament seat so she can become prime minister.