Gov. Fuentes warns of widespread unrest if GMA, allies insist on ConAss

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes, who heads the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) in the region, said the continuing railroading by the administration-dominated House of Representatives of the proposed Charter changes practically compromised the country's volatile unity and the rule of law.

"We are now threading in a dangerous situation since it appears that our laws can no longer ensure order and the protection of our rights," she said.

The majority bloc of the House of Representatives passed Resolution 1450 this morning that specifically called on Congress to convene and propose amendments to the Constitution through a three-fourths vote of all its members.

The resolution postponed the holding of the May 2007 elections to November, extending the term of incumbent officials for another six months, to give way to the proposed shift from the present presidential form of government to a parliamentary system.

But the measure was immediately challenged by the Senate and opposition groups as it specifically junked the proposed holding of separate voting by the House and the Senate on any proposed amendment to the Constitution.

Senate President Manuel Villar declared that they would immediately contest such move before the Supreme Court.

Fuentes, who chairs the Mindanao Confederation of Governors and City Mayors, said she opposes the convening of Congress into a constituent assembly as it may not bring about the economic and political reforms "badly needed" by the country.  

She said it appears that certain politicians have been using Charter change to serve their desire to remain in power for a longer period.

Fuentes said the looming postponement of the 2007 polls would also trample upon the most basic democratic right of the people to choose their leaders.

The governor also expressed concern over the move as it reportedly lacks clear mechanisms on how elected local officials would function when their three-year terms would end on June 30.

"I don't think the holdover provisions includes us in the local government. So in this case, we will all step down by June 30," she said.

Fuentes said the Arroyo government has the option to reappoint the outgoing local government officials as officers-in-charge until the elections are held but she said it may not include those in the opposition.