Senator Francis Pangilinan, chairman of the Senate committee on constitutional amendments, said Filipinos want to be directly involved in revising the 1987 Constitution as they don’t trust Congres to do it.
“Mistrust is one, and that’s a concern,” Pangilinan said. “I think the underlying sentiment is really, if you’re going to change the Constitution, we want to be directly involved instead of allowing Congress, the Senate, and the House to do so. If there’s Charter change, the public should be involved.”
“They want to participate. They want to know and they want to have a say,” said Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party.
The opposition senator reiterated that to resolve this problem, direct participation in the process is needed.
“I think that is one overriding consideration, trust and at the same time direct participation. They don’t want that it be done in haste and because historically, Charter change did no push through because of the public perception that those behind it were merely after their self-interest,” he said.
Senator Panfilo Lacson also shared his observations that a number of people invited in Friday’s Senate regional consultative hearing in Baguio City don’t trust lawmakers.
Lacson said this might be because pro-Charter change congressmen were insisting on no elections and no term limits.
Senate President Aquino Pimentel III, who is also president of ruling PDP-Laban party, tried to allay the public’s fears of amending the Constitution, noting that the proposals are not yet official.
“My only advice is for them to read all of the proposals. Don’t be too alarmed about the proposals because these are not yet the official proposals,” he said.
“The consultative commission promised to have a version by April, and this will be transmitted to the President. If the Office of the President now releases an official version, that is the one we should criticize or support,” Pimentel said.