Why cha-cha?

Posted: November 23, 2009 in Socio-political Commentary
For quite along time, cha-cha ha been a national issue in the Philippines. It has become a somewhat like ceaseless talk of the town. In fact, it was among of the words of the year in the University of the Philippines’ Sawikaan 2006.
But why does cha-cha earn tremendous popularity? What is the real score behind cha-cha that it becomes an intriguing socio-political controversy?
Cha-cha is the shortened term for ‘charter change’ which refers to the changing of the country’s constitution.
At present, the 1987 Constitution is the supreme law of the country. It is the basis of all the bills, resolutions, ordinances, decrees, memoranda, among others, passed by the Congress and Local Government Unit (LGU) legislatures. It also follows that all the actions of the people must be in accordance to the Constitution.
As the issue of cha-cha persists, the 1987 Constitution is at risk. It is because the prime goals of cha-cha is to abolish the present Constitution and create a new form government.
How will it be made? There are two constitutional ways of change that could be done- amendment and revision. As defined by Fr. Joaquin Bernas in his book A Living Constitution: The Troubled Arroyo Presidency, amendment is an alteration of one or a few specific provisions which aims to improve or add new provisions deemed necessary to meet new conditions or to suppress specific portions that are judged to be dangerous; while revision, on the other hand, contemplates a re-examination of the entire document to determine how or to what extent the provisions be altered.
There are three agents authorized to propose amendments. As enumerated by Fr. Bernas: these are Constitutional Convention, which comes into existence by a vote of two-thirds of all the members of the Congress; a Constituent Assembly acted by the Congress, which will propose amendments or revisions by a vote of three-fourths of all its members ; and the People’s Initiative and Referendum, wherein for the people to propose an amendment, it must be approved by one-third of the registered voters of all congressional districts and 12 percent of all voters nationwide.
Then the question now- Is there really a need for the Philippines to change its Constitution? The Arroyo administration, who is the main proponent of cha-cha, has been so eager to implement change, but they lack in giving a concrete explanation on why we have to change our Constitution, and lack in presenting a clear and justifiable argument that will explicate the beneficial implications of cha-cha to the social, political, and economic situation of the country.
This is why a number of allegations and criticisms against the government have come out. Arroyo’s critics believe that the president only wants to extend her term of office in case the country will have a new system of government.
Furthermore, the government is so obvious that they want cha-cha through a Constituent Assembly, wherein the Congress will gather into a unicameral session, and there, they will deliberate the matters on changes to be made to Constitution. But the Filipinos are all aware that most of the members of the Congress are Arroyo allies. It will then be easy for the government to pursue cha-cha, and perhaps, make actions which are for the advantage of the Arroyo government.
Whether these are true or not, we’ll never know. If only the government are transparent enough, these issues and speculations will have not existed.
If we come to think of it, the 1987 Constitution is not yet obsolete nor futile. Its content was designed by its framers to be a national document that would last for a long course of time just like any other charter should be.
On the other hand, the Constitution of the United States is now 222 years old, though there are amendments being done since its ratification in 1787, it is still adopted and implemented by the Federal Government and observed with allegiance by the American people.
So why change the 23-year old Philippine Constitution? Is there something wrong with its content? Or the people implementing its provisions?
There is nothing wrong with changes, especially, if it is for the betterment and welfare of the people. However, if these changes are only for the benefit of a group of individual, the public should do something and take action.
If we would really impose the pursuance of cha-cha, it must solely be done constitutionally and should reflect the will of the people. In consonance, the people who will work for the implementation of the new Constitution are expected to live out the their duties lawfully.
After all, the government is existing under the power ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’
Moreover, no matter how excellent is the government system of the country; no matter how brilliant are its design and provisions; no matter how many times we change the Philippine charter; if the country is ran by the worst leaders, and the Filipinos, in the first place, learn not to change its ill practices, ideals, and values, the nation will never attain social security, political stability, and economic development.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s