Pro-Cha-cha solons twit Makati rally

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — PRO-CHARTER change lawmakers yesterday belittled the indignation rally in Makati City against Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass), saying it was just a show for political grandstanding of the opposition, particularly the so-called presidentiables.

Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing said fears of having a “no elections” scenario is being used against the resolution, which is unfounded and baseless.

“It’s very clear that there will be elections and we are preparing for that. The Con-Ass is meant to ask clarifications from the Supreme Court (SC) about the procedure on how to initiate Con-Ass. Wala pang proposed amendments kaya ‘di ko maintindihan kung bakit kailangang mag-rally. Ang problema pinapaypayan ng presidentiables. ’Di lang anti-Cha-cha ‘yung rally kundi anti-Gloria na rin dahil malapit na ang elections,” Bagatsing said.

Speaker Prospero “Boy” Nograles Jr. said that although the Constitution guarantees the rights to assembly and expression, he said the demonstrations against House Resolution (HR) No. 1109 are premature because they have not convened the constituent assembly.

“And presidentiables are using the issue for their personal interest,” said Nograles.

Camiguin Rep. Pedro Romualdo, also said that the Makati protest rally is only intended as a vehicle for opposition presidentiables to project themselves to the people.

“Little do they (demonstrators) know that one of the duties of a congressman once elected is to amend laws. They do not want us to perform our duties, that’s the effect. There’s no basis for the rally kasi we are just talking about mode of change here,” he said.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga said there was no need for the protest rally since members of the House who signed the resolution have not done anything illegal or unconstitutional.

“As matter of fact Fr. (Joaquin) Bernas has categorically stated that the members of the House who supported Resolution 1109 have not committed yet any unconstitutional act,” said Barzaga.

At the same time, he called for sobriety among the participants of the Makati rally, saying “sobriety among those who aspire to be leaders of our country should be the order of the day.”

He added that anti-Cha-Cha critics are “exploiting” the Con-Ass resolution on the false premise that it is intended to prolong President Arroyo’s term of office, which he described as absurd because it will lack time.

“With the automation of the May 10, 2010 elections already in progress as shown by the award of the contract to the lone qualified bidder and with Comelec’s public announcement of the deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy on Nov. 30, 2009, it is evident there won’t be sufficient time to complete Charter Change,” said Barzaga.