Stand-alone plebiscite for Cha-cha proposed

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2018 11:20 AM

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MANILA - A stand-alone plebiscite for the proposed constitutional amendments would be the best option for the Filipino people, a member of the charter change (Cha-cha) consultative committee said.

Speaking to ANC on Monday, political science professor Edmund Tayao explained that a plebiscite exclusive to charter change would provide an opportunity for a "more sober" look into the existing Constitution.

A plebiscite, where people vote for or against the proposed amendments, would come after lawmakers (in the case of a constituent assembly) or delegates (in the case of a constitutional convention) finish drafting a new charter.

"The best really is to have a separate electoral exercise, which is the plebiscite, because the people can concentrate and focus on the Constitution," he said.

"This is the first time we will have a constitution really that's hopefully well thought-off and drafted in a situation [where] we're really free," he added, noting that the 1987 Constitution was a reaction to the Martial Law era.

The 1987 charter was approved in a plebiscite a year after the 1986 EDSA people power revolution which brought down the Marcos dictatorship.

For former Commission on Elections Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, a plebiscite for charter change held simultaneously with the May 2019 mid-term elections is the most feasible option.

But whatever the schedule would be, he said voters' education is the most crucial part of the process to make sure Filipinos understand the proposed amendments to the 1987 Constitution.

"What's important is the voters' education. You don't wait for the proposals to be done before you conduct voters' education. You can do that throughout the whole process," Larrazabal told ANC.

"Don't think to just English or Tagalog. You have to go down to the dialects: Cebuano, Chavacano, Ilonggo, Waray, Ormocanon. You make people understand. You're not just telling them how to vote."