To view matters objectively, the 1987 Constitution is long due for an overhaul to update its restrictive provisions on the economy which are serious limiting factors for investors exploring possibilities in the country and some other aberrations caused by the intense political atmosphere when it was crafted.
This has been the position of most presidents after the term of President Cory Aquino, Noynoy’s mother.
It would be a bitter pill to swallow, however, for Noynoy to admit defects in the Charter crafted during the term of his mother who supposedly delivered the nation from a dictatorship.
The 1987 Constitution was a total eradication of its 1973 version which was abolished immediately after Cory came to power through a revolt and she ruled for a full year as an absolute dictator, where she was the sole government and the sole law.
The 1973 Charter was formally abolished with Cory’s Proclamation 3 in 1986 that came to be known as the provisional Freedom Constitution which gave her the same dictatorial powers supposedly removed to reorganize the government and remove officials from office. Her Proclamation also mandated her to appoint a commission to draft a new law of the land.
The atmosphere then was to erase the remnants of the past and establish a new order which in turn resulted in overwriting even the good achievements, which were many, during the almost two-decade rule of former President Ferdinand Marcos. And it was such a rush job, the 1987 Charter had too many flaws.
It is not too different with Noynoy who seems to be tracing the exact footsteps of his mother in working for the removal of anything associated with the previous administration and not acknowledging any achievement of the past. The only thing lacking, it seems, is for Noynoy to have his own Constitution.
The problem, however, is for Noynoy to stamp his mark on the Constitution, he would have to rework the Charter not of the previous administration, which failed despite the several attempts it made to tinker with it, but a document wholly associated with his mother.
It appears, however, the revived Charter change (Cha-cha) efforts have the tacit approval of Noynoy since it was his allies who are bearing the Cha-cha standard while Malacañang keeps on harping about Noynoy not changing his position against amending the Constitution.
The fears on reworking the Constitution in the past, however, have not been overcome despite the change in the administration. Allowing amendments to the Charter is still like opening Pandora’s box that would expose the Constitution to any amendments that the body which will be tasked to overhaul it introduces.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte had admitted that it cannot be avoided if among the proposed amendments would be the shift in government from the presidential to the parliamentary, the same reason the previous administration provoked public outrage over its Cha-cha efforts that Gloria explored every avenue to take, provided in the 1987 Constitution.
The same arguments that critics of Gloria against Cha-cha now apply against Noynoy’s allies moves but the groups then clamoring for Gloria to stop her Cha-cha moves are conspicuously now silent apparently since most of their leaders or nominees now occupy government posts.
Belmonte gloated that since Noynoy’s allies had successfully impeached an Ombudsman and a Chief Justice, dancing the Cha-cha now would be a breeze.
The same railroading procedures at the House practiced during the previous administration were responsible for the two impeachments and Belmonte is now saying that the Cha-cha will similarly be rammed through by sheer numbers in Congress.
He even claimed to have gotten Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s assent in getting the Cha-cha express moving in the Senate without the Senate leadership himself saying it.
Enrile did say that he agrees that changes in the economic provisions of the Constitution are necessary but never was he heard that he would whip the senators in line to dance to the tune of Cha-cha.
Enrile also said the imprimatur for Cha-cha should come from Noynoy not Belmonte.
Evidently, the urgency to get something moving for Cha-cha is coming from Belmonte, that is with Noynoy in the background feeling the waters.
The argument remains about the timing of Cha-cha and the chance for its manipulation.