House Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Carlos Zarate and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares on Thursday condemned the renewed efforts of the Duterte administration to push for Charter change or Cha-cha.
They said this Cha-cha has a new component — deleting constitutional provisions that will protect the Philippines from China’s expansionism in the West Philippine Sea, as well as providing China red-carpet entry into the Philippines.
Both opposition figures are urging the Filipino people to prepare for a full battle against a pro-China and pro-dynasty Charter change.
“This current Cha-cha is the most dangerous because it will open up the country further to countries like China,” said Colmenares.
“The latest Cha-cha draft was the Resolution of Both House No. 15 and was approved by President Duterte’s super majority in the House of Representatives overwhelmingly last year. It deletes many provisions in the 1987 Constitution and results in the opening of the Philippines to countries like China,” he added.
Colmenares said it deletes the requirement under Section 2 Article XII of the 1987 Constitution that the exploration, development and utilization of natural resources can only be undertaken by the State
through joint ventures with Filipino citizens or corporations, at least 60 percent of whose capital is owned by Filipinos.
“This means that there will no longer be a constitutional barrier to President Duterte undertaking joint exploration with the Chinese government or 100-percent Chinese-owned corporations," he said.
“This Cha-cha also deleted the provision under Section 2 that requires the President to notify the Congress of every contract entered into in accordance with this provision. This opens the country to verbal agreements with China, allowing China’s fishing in the West Philippine Sea,” Colmenares added.
“Worse, this Cha-cha will also delete the requirement under Section 7 Article XIII of the 1987 Constitution that requires the government to protect Philippine marine resources and subsistence fishermen from foreign intrusion,” he added.
Meanwhile, Zarate questioned the promise of electoral reforms as the Cha-cha push deleted the constitutional prohibition on political dynasty and term extension.
“Considering that President Duterte’s family controls many government positions, it is a foregone conclusion that Duterte will support the deletion of the political dynasty provision in the Constitution. I call on my colleagues not to approve this Cha-cha but oppose any attempt by the administration and its allies to ram it down the throats of the Filipino people,” he said.
“This Cha-cha is not for the benefit of the Filipino people, but for the self-serving benefit of politicians. This Cha-cha is a pro-China and pro-political dynasty,” added Zarate.