Friday, March 31, 2006

Zambo Brass Supports Cha-Cha

Zamboanga Sibugay (Zamboanga Journal / 31 Mar) Zamboanga Sibugay province Vice Governor Eric Cabarios has openly supported proposals to amend the Constitution, saying, it is the best option to the current political and economic situation the country is facing.

Cabarios said the Senate and Congress should not shun from talking about charter change and instead support the move which is aimed at improving the current political situation.

Some lawmakers were opposing moves to change the Constitution, but the government is supporting proposals to change the charter to introduce political and economic reforms.

"It is high time that we discussed cha-cha (short for Charter change) if we really want a positive change for our country and the people," Cabarios said in a radio interview Friday.

"Some of our congressmen still do not want change while some senators are opposing this, and so some non-governmental organizations and civil groups are now conducting people's initiative through village assemblies.

They wanted change in the system and we should listen to them," he said. "With village assemblies, the people are rightfully informed on the essence of charter change, queries and doubts on cha-cha are directly answered."

Cabarios said there are 3 legitimate ways to change the Constitution -- thru a constituent assembly, a constitutional convention and people's initiatives.

When asked which of the three he prefers most, he answered: "The constituent assembly is okay because we already have the congressmen that will represent us in Congress, and all they have to do is to constitute that group into a constituent assembly…so it is less expensive to undertake."

But political opposition and militant groups were opposing Charter change, saying, it will only be used to extend the term of office of President Gloria Arroyo and her allies.

House Speaker Jose de Venecia said they favor a shift to parliamentary form of government, but the opposition criticized him, claiming this would make Arroyo the Prime Minister, even beyond her term on 2010.

Arroyo won the election in 2004, but the opposition accused her of fraud, a charge she strongly denied. Virgilio Garcillano, an election commissioner, was also accused of cheating in the national polls to favor Arroyo. He denied the accusations.

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