How can you call for a people's initiative to amend the Constitution if you don't even know what is going to be amended?
The Constitution states that a people's initiative can be made to amend the Constitution. Revising the Constitution is another story entirely.
How can a people's initiative be started if there is no clear-cut law governing the political exercise?
How can a Commission on Elections (Comelec) whose credibility is in question validate the initiative?
A Charter Change (Cha-Cha) group has said that they already have about four million signatures. How are these signatures going to be validated? Do the people know what is the significance of affixing their signatures to this initiative?
These are some of the thoughts that have been brewing in my mind as this new scheme to ram Cha-Cha down our throats.
I am not in favor of this mode of changing the Constitution, because there are just too many problems with the people's initiative. Already, charges of signature-buying, and bribing local officials in order to meet the magic number (I'm not sure what the figure is. I'm told that it's 12% of the voting population, with 3% per barangay or district represented) have surfaced.
Also, the people behind the Cha-Cha are suspect, and may have ulterior motives in wanting to change our form of government. It's my perception that there are no statesmen present among our current batch of politicians, and, based on their love of the pork barrel, for example, have shown that, if they are in charge of changing the Constitution, their innate selfishness will probably emerge.
Or, their innate stupidity will emerge.
Take Representative Douglas Cagas of Davao del Sur, he of the pork barrel infamy, for example.
The esteemed (Hoch! Ptui!) Representative was interviewed last night by newscaster Pinky Webb on ANC. He bragged that 25% of his constituents were solidly behind "amending" the Constitution, a figure that was questioned by Agusan del Sur Representative Plaza, considering that the rest of the country seemed to be having problems understanding the whole exercise.
He also claimed that shifting from a presidential to a parliamentary form of government, and from a bicameral legislature to a unicameral one, only requires an amendment, not a revision, and thus, the people's initiative to change the Constitution can be done.
Changing the entire political system is just an amendment? "Oh, and, by the way, we're a parliamentary government now, not a presidential one. It's that easy." really?
He goes on to criticize the Senate for blocking the Cha-Cha, for not passing a lot of bills. While I'll concede that point, it was noted by Senator Bong Revilla that most of the bills approved in the House were bills of changing the names of streets. I'm not sure if these are helpful acts; I still refer to Puyat Ave. as Buendia, for one.
After a while, Cagas no longer made any sense, and even newscaster Webb eventually had difficulty trying to understand what he was saying. Myself, I wish I was able to videotape the interview; that way, I can dissect it more thoroughly. But, in the end, why bother? Much of what Cagas said was idiocy, anyway.
And it is in the hands of people like esteemed (Hoch! Ptui!) Rep. Cagas to whom we leave the revision of the Constitution? I think not.