Freeman Opinion ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: , sectionmatch: 1

Should we amend the Constitution or not?

Even before we address whether to go for con-ass (constituent assembly) or con-con (constitutional convention), or even peoples' initiative, we need to settle first if we really need to amend the Constitution. Will any amendments be beneficial to Filipinos? If amendment is deemed a solution to our national problems, is such a solution the most practicable? Before the senators and the congressmen bicker whether the two houses of Congress should vote jointly or separately, this is to me a mere procedural matter. The jugular issue is: should we or should we not?

The first issue is why do we have to amend our Constitution? If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well, cha-cha (charter change) proponents are convinced the 1987 Constitution is no longer attuned to the realities of the times. Technology has changed the world since then, this is a totally different world and different times. And the Charter framed by such illustrious men and women as Blas Ople, Cecilia Munoz-Palma, Christian Monsod, and Hilario Davide Jr., to the minds of the millennials, is no longer responsive to the dizzying demands of too many rapid and unpredictable changes.

The 1935 Constitution was framed by a con-con during the time of Manuel L. Quezon, Sergio Osmeña Sr., Jose P. Laurel, and Claro M. Recto, when the country was not yet independent. Thus the preamble declared that the ultimate dream of the Filipino people then was to establish a government that shall embody our ideals, conserve and develop the patrimony of the nation and secure for themselves and their posterity the blessings of independence. It was 38 years old when President Marcos convened another con-con in 1973 during the days when the country was under Martial Law. The 1973 Charter was only 13 years old when President Cory, after the EDSA Revolution, convened the con-com.

Today, I concur there is a need to change the Charter. I also believe positive changes, if properly done, can yield benefits to the people. And yes, too, important and useful constitutional changes can be done provided the members of the con-ass or the con-con should prove to be true statesmen, with the welfare of the people and the good of the country over and above any selfish agenda and narrow partisan interests. For instance, I am for Federalism, but the super majority should not manipulate the process in order to ram it down the throats of the Filipinos like what the ruling party wants. Sovereignty should continue to reside in the people. The people alone should make the final decision.

josephusbjimenez@gmail.com

 

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