Filipinos must understand what the Cha cha con men are really offering
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-01-04

There are many Filipinos who regretted demolishing their old ancestral homes and opted for modern house designs that quickly became passé. Many only realized their mistake when they traveled to Europe and saw the premium in retaining the old character of a place by maintaining edifices that date over 100 years.

In Italy, for example, it is forbidden to demolish old buildings that contribute to the Italian character of the place. You can only renovate the interiors of these edifices but not the exterior.

Those who are deluded into thinking that there is a genuine promise of reform in the Charter change (Cha cha) that self-seeking wolves in Congress have been pushing will regret it the most if and when that proposed Charter ever gets passed. This deluded lot fails to appreciate that the present Constitution is an excellent Charter that was drafted by exemplary men and women who are superior in mind and morals to those who have been conspiring to sell us their self-serving Charter.

The deluded lot who supports the big sell for a new Charter does not realize the following comparisons between the present Charter and the proposed one.

1. The present Constitution was drafted with the objective of preserving the freedoms and the democracy that was regained by the 1986 People Power Revolution. The proposed Constitution is intended to perpetuate the oligarchy which stunts the full development of our democracy.

2. The present Constitution precisely wanted to promote a faster turnover of power to encourage more people to take an active role in public service. Thus, the terms for Congressmen and local officials were limited to just three years and no more than three consecutive terms or nine years. In contrast, the Congressmen pushing for a new Charter were focused on term extensions and the lifting of term limits.

3. The present Constitution clearly wanted to eliminate political dynasties. However, the Congress that is dominated by the oligarchs never prepared the enabling law to make this ban operational. Their proposed new Charter will create an even better terrain for political dynasties.

4. The present Constitution had the wisdom to prescribe a bicameral legislature. Can you imagine what could have happened and where we will be now if we had a unicameral legislature?

5. Because it was crafted to become the FREEDOM CONSTITUTION, the present Charter was very emphatic about our civil liberties including the freedom of speech. From the actions of the ones who are proposing the new Charter, can you trust them to respect these freedoms? Or will they not attempt to curtail many of these freedoms just as they are now attempting to curtail the freedom of the press via an equal time and space bill?

6. Article II of the present Constitution is very specific about its Principles and State Policies. Read these and ask yourself how many of these provisions the oligarchs would just love to remove.

7. The present Constitution was made under the reign of former President Cory Aquino — a president who had but one goal which is to restore and preserve freedom and democracy. True to her mission, Cory Aquino voluntarily ceded power when in fact she had the leeway to run for re-election. Now, can you trust the present dispensation to do the same or would it not attempt to extend, if not perpetuate, its hold on power?

Compare the likes of Napoleon Rama, Adolf Azcuna, Florangel Braid, Christian Monsod, Jose Calderon, Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo, Jose Laurel Jr., Roberto Concepcion, Bernardo Villegas, Sister Christine Tan, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, Lorenzo Sumulong, Ambrosio Padilla, Bishop Teodoro Bacani, and the other framers of the present Constitution — to those in Congress who have been salivating to revise the present Charter. Who would you rather trust?

Can you really trust those who have been protecting the EVIL in the land to do good for you and the country? Most Filipinos have been clamoring for an impeachment process to settle the election fraud issue of 2004. Have these Congressmen — the very same now pushing for a new Constitution — paid any attention to the clamor of the majority? Is that democracy?

Can you trust those who just mangled the Agrarian Reform Law by removing its compulsory feature to generously provide social justice? Based on what they have been doing, is it not logical to expect that they will produce a new Charter that will perpetuate their monopoly of political and economic power?

Of course, these con men pushing for a new Charter will try to take advantage of Filipino idiocy — the state of not knowing the truth — by offering economic reforms and other incentives. Watch what kind of economic reforms they are promising. They may not have the same definition of economic reform as you would understand it to be.

Allowing foreigners and foreign firms to own Philippine land is not a real economic reform. It can pave the way for dirty money made from plunder, jueteng and drugs to re-enter under the cover of companies organized and registered overseas where they are inaccessible to local crusaders. Money laundering is not a function of economic reform.

Even assuming that it is cleanly acquired capital coming in, it makes no sense allowing foreigners and foreign firms to own Philippine land. What happens when their buying frenzy raises land prices to levels that average Filipinos can no longer afford?

China and Vietnam, Asian countries most attractive to foreign investors, do not allow foreigners and foreign firms to own land. Both China and Vietnam have far larger land areas than the Philippines so why should we allow foreign land ownership here?

Is it a coincidence that the ‘comfort zone’ in business of a suspected big plunderer happens to be land development? Is the proposal to allow foreign firms to own land here intended to accommodate genuine foreign firms or the ‘foreign firms’ of the suspected big plunderer?

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