ChaCharot Movement explained

Harvey S. Keh

Posted at Feb 24 2018 11:42 PM | Updated as of Aug 25 2018 02:50 PM

The call for charter change issue is not new. Other administrations have tried to change, amend, or revise the 1987 Constitution. They failed.

Even if a lot has already been said and debated upon in the last decades, Filipinos always rejected charter change. It seems that the citizens are committed to the Constitution as it is. 

Also, the citizens never liked term extensions.

So the question today is: why is the call so loud nowadays? 

Is there suddenly a serious need for charter change?

I won’t talk about the specifics of charter change for I am no expert on the subject. I am, however, confident that there are a lot of resources online that will help people understand what charter change entails. 

But I will try to cover the basics. First, is charter change really necessary now? Second, are present public officials worthy of leading this change? 

The 1987 Constitution is a sacred set of principles by which a state is governed. Like all Constitutions, It should not be casually changed, especially because there are no better ideas being offered for equalizing access by all to the wealth of the country. 

During the ChaCharot launch, various sectoral representatives pointed out that Article XIII (Social Justice and Human Rights) has been dropped in the proposed Federal Constitution. It was also pointed out that the Local Government Code has not yet reached its full potential, so until that time, there is no need to think about changing the whole Constitution. 

The 1987 Constitution was written by more than a hundred different experts known for their abilities to think beyond personal gain. 

Today, what is being railroaded is for the present members of Congress to become the writers of the new Constitution. These members of Congress want to become a Constitutional Assembly or Con-Ass.

But who are they?

Their motivations are suspect. Up to this point, it still is not clear what the proponents of charter change want to change with the Constitution. And because of this, the current proposed revisions have drawn flak from the very proponents of ChaCha in the past including members of PDP Laban, where the proponents of the current ChaCha also comes from.

The supermajority in Congress is also no secret. So, if we are to put our faith in the hands of legislators in the hopes of them crafting the Constitution that would best benefit the Filipino people, devoid of personal and political interests, it is also highly questionable because very little debate happens in Congress due to the supermajority. And as far as our Constitution is concerned, the guiding principles as to where our democracy stands and will go, we need to make sure that it is properly debated upon so that no individual would be unjustly harmed or benefited. Something we cannot guarantee the way the discussions are happening today. Especially when you consider the tendency of Congress to rush legislation like the TRAIN law that now burdens thousands of families, and the way Congress is also trying to railroad this revision of the Constitution.

ChaCha & Federalism

Proponents of ChaCha argue that we need to have federalism because of reasons of corruption, autonomy, etc. However, as usual, they fail to prove the nuance of ChaCha and why such problems presented cannot be solved with legislation or even with the special powers given to the President. Moreover, problems of corruption and political dynasties will only worsen under federalism because federalism means decentralization of power. From national to local governments. Meaning, families that rule over certain provinces, in as much as it is difficult to prevent them from monopolizing power under a national government, will only be able to consolidate more power because of the autonomy that Federalism gives them.

Keep in mind

Ultimately, this issue on ChaCha is a valid issue. Most definitely, some parts of our Constitution are indeed outdated and needs to be revised or amended. However, we should never forget that in the process of doing this, human beings with personal agenda are also going to be involved. So, while our legislators have the responsibility to update our Constitution, we, the citizens, have the mutual obligation to make sure that the changing of our Constitution and laws are done in favor of the Filipino people, not a select some, and never a select few.

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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.