ChaCha now: “against the will of God”

Rev. Wilmar Bongado, conference minister of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, made these remarks during the press conference today of People’s March, an umbrella of various groups opposing the changing of the Constitution now.


Bongado said it is true that the Constitution is not perfect, but this is not yet the time to change it.


"The unprecedented problems we are facing today as a nation cannot be simply attributed to the perceived defects in the Constitution as Malacañang wants us to believe," the Iglesia Filipina Independiente church, said in a statement read by Bishop Delfin Callao, Jr.


"They are the outcome of irresponsible governance by leaders whom the people perceive to be with questionable authority, credibility and integrity…," he said.


He said the move to transform the House into a constituent assembly is a glaring display of opportunism among members of Congress to perpetuate themselves in power.


"It (con-ass) exhibits a blatant disrespect of the Constitution and disregard of the legitimate interests of our people," the statement added.  


Reading her group's statement, Sister Elsa Compuesto, executive secretary of the 200-member Sisters Association in Mindanao (SAMIN), described as "illegitimate and immoral" the Lower House's railroading of a resolution for constituent assembly.


"The behavior of a single-minded and unreasonable unicameral parliament is enough reason to oppose charter change and has triggered public anger and street protests," she said.


The group has decried any move to change the constitution without the Senate. "We courageously express our strongest opposition to the Constituent Assembly together with those who oppose charter change," it said.


Compuesto said the shift of the pro-administration lawmakers to bat for the constitutional convention is also suspect. "It could only be temporary, so we have to stay vigilant and well-informed," she said.


The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines is also against a constituent assembly and CBCP president and Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo has been urging Catholics to oppose the move for constituent assembly.  


Youth group Kabataan Party described charter change as misplaced amid economic crisis, natural calamities, and the growing number of young people who are not in school due to rising fees.    


They accused Arroyo and the pro-administration lawmakers who pushed for the House-only constituent assembly, as not good role models to the youth.


Labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement) said whatever formula is used for charter change will be opposed.


KMU stressed that people need economic and disaster relief and national industrialization, not a new Constitution that will open up land to foreign ownership and the people for exploitation.


UCCP Bishop Constante Claro said charter change is "not the call of our time". Claro said there are many problems of the people that government should address, before even talking about changing the constitution.


He said more explanation to the public should be done so that they will not be left in the dark on the real proposed changes.


Claro also decried the spin of budget officials that holding a constitutional convention would cost the government at least P10 billion. Government can call for a con-con at a much lower cost, he said.


 "When it comes to budget cuts, just like how the government reduces budget for basic services, it can easily cut it down," he said.


Groups opposing charter change took part in a “peoples' march" Tuesday, organized to keep watch on the House of Representatives' railroading of charter change through constituent assembly, even if Speaker Jose de Venecia had announced over the weekend their shift to a constitutional convention.


Militant groups like  Bayan, League of Filipino Students, Kabataan Party and religious organizations like the, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, and the SAMIN and other groups joined the protest march that started at the Freedom Park here.