Colmenares seeks to block charter change in Senate bid

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 07 2018 01:43 AM

MANILA - Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares on Tuesday said he aspires to be a senator in order to oppose the administration's plan for charter change (cha-cha).

Colmenares, a human rights lawyer and activist, said charter change could push through should the administration win all 12 seats of Senate in next year's midterm polls.

"Cha-cha will open up the country for the transnational corporations, no term limits, no political dynasty prohibition, and of course cancellation of elections in one of the provisions," Colmenares said in ANC's Beyond Politics.

"So I think a control of the administration in the Senate would pave the way for cha-cha if it's not approved before the 2019 elections. So that's one motivation."

Colmenares said he "vehemently" opposes cha-cha, which he described as "dictatorial."

"This cha-cha is enticing too many, from senators down to local officials. Imagine, you're taking out term limits, so there's no need for a senator or congressman to step down for one term. Secondly, political dynasty is always an issue," he said.

"That's why we need a very strong Senate who will say no to cha-cha even if it benefits them."

Colmenares, who seeks a second attempt at a Senate seat, said he will push for the end of contractualization and the repeal of excise taxes under the first tranche of the tax reform law if he becomes a senator. 

"It's very difficult for a candidate now to say you're against contractualization, but we're going for it. At least to show to the workers that this is important, that they need this," he said.

Colmenares said the Makabayan Party-list would rely on its members and social media presence for its electoral campaign.

"We can link our issues like land reform, like contractualization. My platform is contractualization, so they can actually segue to that during the campaign. Secondly, I would like to think we are one of the most formidable forces in social media," he said.

The former lawmaker is also hoping that voters would consider the candidates' track record come May 2019.

"As I've mentioned always, one of the questions that people will be asking during this 2019 elections: What was your vote for TRAIN? We can look them straight in the eye and say we really voted no because we warned government it's going to increase inflation," he said.

"Those issues joined will hopefully make it clear for the people to distinguish which one should we want to go to the Senate and which ones we don't trust, who will be consistent for our side if he or she becomes a senator."