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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed strong opposition to the plan to change the 1987 Constitution, saying that the move by President Duterte and his allies to push for Charter change appears to be self-serving.

De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms and People’s Participations, labelled the plan for Charter Change as “trabahong tamad.”

“Like someone who, after being confronted by the demands of real, hard work – or what we call public service – suddenly gives up and blames the Constitution for their failures,” she said.

“At worst, all those are just pretext. The proponents really want something else, and they’re trying hard to make sure we can’t see through their pretense,” she added.

In a bid to replace the present form of government, the proponents of federalism from PDP-Laban party submitted their draft of a Constitution that adopts a parliamentary-federal system of government, in September 2017.

When it comes to revising the Constitution, De Lima said it is difficult to trust an administration that has already shown its susceptibility for abusing power, for allowing impunity to reign, and for lying repeatedly to the public.

“If we can’t trust them to tell the truth, how can we trust them when they say that they are only looking out for the interests of the Filipino people?” she said.

With the shadow of a foreign power looming and peering over the shoulders of many powerful and influential people – politicians, businessmen and influence peddlers alike – De Lima said PDP-Laban’s charter change will not likely be representative of the general will of the people.

De Lima shared there are two critical aspects of Federalism, as being peddled by PDP Laban-Duterte, that makes it clear that there will only be a single nationally elected government official, namely, the President and the day-to-day operations of the Federal government will be attended to by a Prime Minister that is elected by parliament, upon nomination by the President.

“We can also see how a similar set-up works in China, when it is only the Communist Party that makes all decisions, even about the recent constitutional amendment that has now allowed President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely, far beyond the two-consecutive term limit that was in effect up until now,” she noted.

“Does that scenario seem increasingly familiar in the Philippine context, too? You be the judge.” she added.

In reality, especially in the Philippines, the Senator from Bicol said what people think do not matter because all that matters is what the “strong leader” wants.

“What he wants, he gets. To hell with the people – they can’t be trusted to know what’s good for them anyway,” she said.

Office of Senator Leila de Lima
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