Moves to alter the Constitution will not be beneficial for the country
MANILA – Moves by lawmakers from both Houses of Congress seeking to amend the 1987 Constitution to make it adapt to the needs of the times will not benefit the nation.
According to the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace statement dated January 26,2021 and chaired by Kidapawan Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo, converting congress into a constitutional assembly at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and as the terms of public office are nearing their end, is “not only malicious but altogether dangerous,” as Philippine politics remains focused on personalities, on who holds power, machinery and resources.
The Commission said giving lawmakers “blanket authority to amend the constitution is like providing explicit permission to commit murder.” They underscored the spirit of the CVCP Pastoral Letter of Charter Change issued in 2018.
“If the Constitution is to be revised at all, the process should lead to a greater defense and promotion of the moral values of human dignity and human rights, integrity and truth, participation ang solidarity, and the common good,” the bishops quoted from the “Pastoral Guidelines for Discerning the Moral Dimension of the Present-Day Moves for Charter Change”.
They said genuine constitutional reform will only spring from collective participation, free engagement and ownership of the process of the Filipino people in politics and now from an exercise of power borne out of fear, distrust and greed.
The Commission added charger change should never be a priority over COVID-19 pandemic response, disaster financing and management, climate emergency and other social issues.
“Changes in the economic provisions of the constitution will not improve over-night our poverty status – better delivery of social services will. Real accountability and transparency across the board and all public-private transactions will,” they added.
In their three-page statement, the bishops said under the “current unstable governance is very susceptible to corruption of the mind.” They ventured to add the charter change may be used as a ploy for NO-EL (no election), term extension, or a revolutionary government – “all of which are detrimental to people welfare.”
They called on the laity to remain vigilant and call on politicians to stop charter change at this time. They suggested families should discuss politics at home and form educated and braver voters, and politicians which they said would be the only way to change the political environment in the country. They likewise called on the laity to use social media and technology to disseminate accurate information, uplifting stories and insightful posts.
“Support good politicians. We need them to stay longer in public offices. Be their support systems,” the Commission statement added as they requested for prayers for the country’s leaders.
The other signatories were San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, Marbel Bishop Cerilo Allan Casicas, Palo Archbishop John F. Du, Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, Digos Bishop Guillermo Afable, Butuan Bishop Cosme Almedilla and Executive Secretary and Novaliches Vicar General Fr. Antonio E. Labiao, Jr. (Melo M. Acuña)
Bishop Jose Colin M. Bagaforo, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace. (File Photo/Facebook Page)