De Lima to Filipinos: Defend Charter, sovereignty amid economic Cha-cha proposal

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has warned against the dangers of amending the 1987 Constitution’s economic provisions which would open more Philippine sectors to foreign management and control.

In her message during a webinar entitled “Bakuna at Ayuda, Hindi Cha-Cha: Charter Change in the Time of Pandemic and Economic Crisis” last Feb. 4, De Lima urged the Filipino people to work together in defending and guarding the Charter.

“The wisdom of our Constitutional framers in erecting high walls of protection for the Constitution against reptilian politicians has been guiding us. But it is our duty to always show up to defend the Charter every time there is an attempt to undermine it by despots like Duterte,” she said.

Ngayon, binubuhay na naman nila ang ang Cha-Cha. But this time, they try a different tack—economic. Sinusubukan nila ang economic Cha-Cha sa pag-aakalang wala ritong masyadong aalma. Nagkakamali sila,” she added.

Last February 2, 64 members of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments voted in favor of Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 2 proposing economic amendments to the country’s charter.

Under the Resolution of Both Houses No. 2, the phrase “unless otherwise provided by law” would be added to the constitutional restrictions that limit the participation of foreign investors in the governing body of entities based on their proportionate share in the capital.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said she fears that the present administration might also use the economic Cha-Cha move as a ground plan to position more Chinese investors in the country’s economic sphere while Duterte has the clout of office.

“I envisage an economic capture if that happens that can compromise our claims in the West Philippine Sea and affect our overall economic sovereignty. This scenario is not farfetched because Duterte is all-out in supporting and defending China,” she said.

“China is rich and they would not entertain second thoughts if sabotaging our economy would advance their expansionist agenda in the South China Sea and their project of setting up a hegemony in the region,” she added.

While there may be merit in reviewing and possibly adapting the Constitution to the needs of the time, De Lima maintained that now, under Duterte’s rule, is not the right time.

“This is a very dangerous and horrifying scenario. That’s why we must zealously guard the Constitution against Duterte. Sama-sama nating pigilan ang tangkang ito sa ating Saligang Batas. Ibuhos natin ang ating talino, kakayahan at lakas para tutulan at ipaunawa sa publiko ang panganib na idudulot ng Cha-Cha ni Duterte,” she said.

“Wala man po ako diyan, kasama ninyo ako sa labang ito, at laging kapanalig para sa demokrasya, karapatang pantao at pagprotekta sa ating Konstitusyon,” she added.

Since 2016, De Lima said Duterte and his allies have set their eyes on the Constitution to do with it what they please, thereby endangering the Constitution’s democratic safeguards and people’s civil and political rights in a bid to allow them more rooms for despotic maneuvers. (30)

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