Duterte’s Charter Change violates people’s rights - Karapatan

Once again, charter change is being floated by self-serving politicians loyal to President Rodrigo Duterte, in an attempt to revise the 1987 Philippine Constitution to further benefit their interests. Current proposals in Congress, particularly the PDP-Laban Proposed Federal Constituion and the Resolution of Both Houses No. 8 (RBH 8), are shamelessly unabashed in selling out the economy to foreign powers and inserting tyrannical elements to further the agenda of the vanguards of the status quo.

These proposals of the Duterte-controlled super majority in Congress pose very real threats to the country’s sovereignty, the indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, and the people’s civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. 

Removing economic protection has been the banner of all versions of charter change in past and especially in the present administration, further allowing the plunder of our resources with scant benefits for the majority. With House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as its mascot, this dangerous and treacherous super majority has already demonstrated its potential in disregarding democratic processes and in subverting proper mechanisms to suit their vested interests.

Many more provisions in the said proposal betray the real intent of fast tracking charter change. In the transitory provisions, the executive is given power to usurp legislative authority – a situation where the President can issue decrees that can suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and other measures which effectively curtail the people’s civil and political rights. We remember quite well what the dictator Ferdinand Marcos did with such an enormous power. 

Duterte’s charter change, therefore, is a scam. With term extensions, tax exemption of politicians, and the postponement of elections, it becomes apparent that Duterte and his cohorts are seasoned swindlers. Just like past versions of Cha-cha, this new version hides its insidious content behind keywords of “development” and “progress”, this time sugarcoated by the ambiguous promise of federalism. Federalism, packaged as the end-all, be-all solution to all the problems facing the country, is a grand and ambitious press release that proves empty and shallow.
As we commemorate the 32nd anniversary of People Power I, it is thus imperative upon the Filipino people to resist and defeat another attempt from the Duterte regime to strengthen and consolidate its forces and resources to eventually install a full-blown dictatorship. There has been a deafening outrage against many attempts by past administrations to change the constitution; now, it is high time to amplify our voices and once again and march in solidarity to steer the country away from shameless puppetry, graver rights violations, incessant plunder of our resources, and the ever worsening of our political and economic condition.