Inside out

Random musings in and outside the news

Arroyo hit for ‘sinister agenda’ in call for federalism

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 12, 2008

Calls for Charter Change are once again being made by the government. Some say this is all so predictable. I don’t know, what do you think?

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By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 09:59:00 08/12/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Militant groups are warning President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo against pushing for Charter change, saying there is a “sinister agenda” behind her call instead of addressing the problems in Mindanao.

In a statement, Bayan (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, New Patriotic Alliance) secretary general Renato Reyes said Arroyo’s proposal for a constitutional amendment to bring about the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE) could pave the way for her to tinker with term extensions.

“Critics of the administration have every reason to be wary of Charter change especially since this has always been tied to maneuvers to keep Arroyo in power beyond 2010. There is nothing in the track record of this government which says it can be trusted with amending the Constitution,” he added.

Arroyo reiterated her position on federalism during the visit of Swiss President Pascal Couchepin on Monday.

Press Secretary Jesus Dureza said the move was “the way forward” in carrying out a deal for an expanded Moro homeland to end four decades of a separatist war in Mindanao.

But Reyes said the problem in Mindanao was a “calculated move” by the government and changing the Constitution was not the “cure-all” to the problem in Mindanao.

“The ensuing armed tension from the impasse in the signing may have also been a calculated risk by the regime so that it could play the federalism-via-Charter-change card. The escalation of hostilities puts pressure on Congress to adopt changes in the Constitution,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Pamalakaya (Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas, National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organizations in the Philippines) warned of staging another people power should the government push for Charter change.

“Arroyo’s resurrection of Charter Change deserves the people’s outrage…That’s one way of stopping this ambitious, brutal and corrupt politician in Malacañang,” National chairman Fernando Hicap said.

Reyes called on lawmakers to stop any moves to change the Constitution.

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