Charter change protesters flock to EDSA ahead of People Power anniversary

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 24 2018 04:39 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2018 07:22 PM

MANILA - Protesters against charter change flocked to the People Power Monument on Saturday ahead of the commemoration of the 32nd anniversary of the peaceful revolt.

Speaking to ANC, Bayan Muna Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr. said amending the country's Constitution should not be the government's priority as there are more pressing national issues.

"The people demand that the administration address the economic problems they are experiencing...these are far more important issues compared to the push for charter change," he said.

Malacañang had earlier declared Feb. 25 as a special non-working day in celebration of the 32nd anniversary of the 1986 popular revolt that ousted the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and installed President Corazon Aquino in 1986.

Aquino's ascent to power led to the restoration of democracy, with the drafting of the 1987 Constitution a highlight of her presidency, instituting provisions that, among others, ensure respect for human rights and prevent the repeat of repression seen during the regime of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Reyes said proponents of charter change are trying to push for a dictatorship similar to the Marcos era.

"Any form of charter change will certainly lead to tyranny and something like what we had during the Marcos dictatorship," he told ANC.

In a statement, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao urged the public to stay vigilant against attempts to impede the country's democracy.

"It is apparent that Duterte intends to repeat what Marcos did, but with constitutional means and total disregard of the people's aspirations and ideals," Casilao said.

"With Duterte betraying the people's trust and taking steps towards a dictatorship, broad sectors are now merging with a unified call, to oppose charter change and tyranny."

Lawmakers have begun parallel deliberations both in the House of Representatives and the Senate on proposals to amend the charter to pave the way for President Rodrigo Duterte's push for federalism.

Around 1,850 policemen will be deployed across Metro Manila on Sunday to ensure security during People Power anniversary activities.