Updating the Constitution

Gibo on the Constitution:
  • "I am in favor of Charter Change. I think the 1987 Constitution is a reactive constitution. It looks back, because it had a purpose--to remove all vestiges of a dictatorial regime. But that is a transient goal, and it has already performed that goal. We must now look forward."

  • "The present Constitution is hamstrung. There is no synergy among government institutions. There is always check and balance, but there is no synergy. We need to change this to a more open, transparent, and flexible political system. Not a parliamentary system, because the Filipino people will not really accept a leader of the country that they did not elect. Perhaps a presidential unicameral system."

  • "The economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution are overly restrictive, not merely for foreign investment, but also for domestic investment. I've been espousing that maybe foreign ownership of certain types of land is acceptable. Perhaps foreigners can own commercial, industrial, tourist, or residential land with a reverse cap above a certain amount in value, so low-cost housing does not suffer."

  • "In terms of local government autonomy, what I want to do is empower Congress to determine what regions should be given enhanced autonomy, when and how. Maybe federalism would be an end, but not at the present time. But I am not in favor of providing autonomy to areas which are not ready. Autonomy is only for areas which are ready and able to govern themselves, without the national government spoonfeeding."

  • "A constitutional convention is a capital investment, a building block investment for the foundations of our state in the future. If we keep on remedying our situation with piecemeal legislation, this is not sustainable. We need sustainable development, sustainable change, sustainable growth. And that can only be done with actual amendments to our Constitution."

    (Source: FACE TO FACE: 100 Local Government Champions vs 4 Presidential Contenders, via www.gibo.ph)

    Amending the Constitution through a Constitutional Convention, as Sec. Teodoro proposes, is the check and balance that will prevent abuse. Under a Constitutional Convention, the people will elect their own delegates per region, and the resulting group will be the body that will formulate, and vote on, amendments to the Constitution, not the president. But if the people still don't find a con-con acceptable or suspect there is a hidden agenda, Sec. Teodoro says it will not proceed.

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    Constitutional amendments are a normal part of a country's evolution. Nations that do not respond to change become stagnant and stuck in the past. (Had there been no "cha-cha" in 1899, we would still be called "The Republic of Biak-Na-Bato".) Singapore's constitution has been amended 4 times since independence in 1965 (an average of once every 11 years). The United States constitution has been amended 27 times since independence in 1787 (an average of once every 8 years). Charter change is not a bad thing as long as the proposed changes will move the country forward. We have been trapped in 1987 for too long, and the self-serving disinformation certain opposition camps spread about the meaning of charter change is not helping.