MANILA, August 24, 2014—Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo waved off as a mere “alibi of Malacañang” the call by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Senate President Franklin Drilon to amend the economic provision of the 1987 Constitution.
Pabillo, who also chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Public Affairs (CBCP-ECPA), recently questioned the need to amend the Constitution’s economic provision when the Aquino administration itself is trumpeting the great strides the Philippine economy has had in spite of the law, particularly the record 5.7-percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter.
The prelate aired doubts over the motive of Malacañang and administration allies in Congress in pushing for charter change (Cha-Cha).
Pabillo explained over Radyo Veritas that once the Constitution has been opened to amendments, self-interested officials will have a field day changing the law in their favor like extending the terms of office and curbing the power of the Supreme Court (SC) over judicial review.
“We can’t afford to allow Cha-Cha. It’s too important a document to be left to the care of just anyone. If Congress today cannot be expected to come out with good laws, how much more can it be entrusted to amend the Constitution?” asked the bishop.
Pabillo maintains proposals for Cha-Cha must be studied in depth, stressing that the Filipino public should have a “say” in any decision concerning constitutional amendments.
The prelate said politicians have been elected to look after the interests of the Filipino people by crafting and enacting laws that promote the common good. (Raymond A. Sebastián)