Inside out

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Lawyers’ group: Federalism ploy for Arroyo perpetuation

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 13, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 17:51:00 08/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Government claims that Constitutional amendments it is pushing would be selective and limited only to the changes needed to bring peace to Mindanao were “insincere” and a “ploy” to perpetuate President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in power, a group of activist lawyers said Wednesday.

“Arroyo is insincere in her proposals for a surgical amendment of the Constitution to supposedly incorporate federalism and achieve peace in Mindanao. There is no precise surgical amendment in her proposed constituent assembly because once constituted this constituent assembly can overhaul the entire constitution at its discretion,” Neri Colmenares, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), said in a statement.

“Once Congress is convened as a constituent assembly, there is no constitutional restriction for the constituent assembly to revise, not merely amend one or two provisions in the Constitution,” he added. “While amendment pertains to changes of one or two provisions, revision means the power to change many provisions and even overhaul the entire Constitution.”

“It is, therefore, clear that Arroyo is merely riding on the issues of federalism and peace in Mindanao to push for charter change which is ultimately aimed at prolonging her stay in power and eliminating the protectionist economic provisions in the Constitution,” he said.

The NUPL also urged Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who filed the bill that would change the form of government to federalism, to prevent Arroyo from using the bill to extend her stay as president.


One Response to “Lawyers’ group: Federalism ploy for Arroyo perpetuation”

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