PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

HOUSE ADJOURNS SINE DIE, NO VOTE ON CHA CHA, NO VOTE ON BBL
[Adjournment sine die (from the Latin "without day") means "without assigning a day for a further meeting or hearing".]


JUNE 11 ---MB file photo 
Although 267 congressmen responded to the roll call on the last day of session in the House of Representatives, the chamber’s leadership did not take advantage of the situation by presenting the Charter change proposal embodied in Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 to a vote. With Speaker Feliciano Belmonte presiding over the last plenary meeting of the Second Regular Session of the 16th Congress, the House merely took up legislative agenda to wrap up the legislative proceedings. Last night’s sine die adjournment also dashed hopes by proponents of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to have the measure voted upon. Prior to the closing proceedings, Reps. Rufus Rodriguez, sponsor of House Bill 5811 or the BBL, and Celso Lobregat (NP, ZAMBO  City) locked themselves in a five hour floor debate. The failure of the House leadership to put RBH No. 1 to third and final reading vote triggered speculations that approval will not get the required three fourths vote of all congressmen and will be lost. These speculations were confirmed by congressional sources who pointed out that at least 33 of the congressmen present last night have confirmed their rejection of the Charter amendments. READ MORE...

ALSO: Amid BBL debate, C.J. Sereno says SC will ensure Constitution is followed


JUNE 11 ---Sereno at 117th Independence Day rites in Caloocan. Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno leads the 117th Independence Day ceremony at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City on Friday, June 12. Dano Tingcungco
Amid claims that parts of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law are unconstitutional, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday assured the public that the Supreme Court would ensure that laws crafted by Congress are in accordance with the 1987 Philippine Charter. During a celebration in Caloocan City for the country's 117th Independence Day, Sereno told reporters that it has always been a "challenge" for the high tribunal to always "look at the Constitution intently." "You know our deep concern is that sometimes our Constitution is not being considered very seriously in the discussions that are going on maybe in other branches of government, maybe even by some sectors," Sereno said, without elaborating. "So our duty is to ensure that everything that comes out is always in accordance with the Constitution. That is the key message for this day I think on the part of the judiciary," she added. Retired SC Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza has earlier said certain provisions of the draft BBL are unconstitutional, including the part that allows the creation of a parliamentary form of government in the proposed Bangsamoro region. "The provisions on the Bangsamoro government are unconstitutional. READ MORE...

ALSO: Moro History on PH Independence Day


JUNE 8 ---THE first Independence Day Flag Raise Ceremony which was attended simultaneously by Moro leaders took place in Luneta Park on July 4, 1946. It was preceded by the Flag Retreat of the Stars-Spangled Banner, symbolizing the “end of American rule,” and the start of an “Independent Philippine Republic.” Mindanao leaders, notably newly elected Senator Salipada Pendatun and Cotabato Congressman Datu Gumbay Piang were seen saluting both flags, the two being both senior officers of the United States Armed Forces of the Far-East, coming into the mainstream politics fresh from the last World War. Not from the perspective of Pendatun and Piang as military men, who served both countries during the war, but from the viewpoint of Sulu Congressman Umbrah Amilbangsa, the Filipino would understand the reason why Chairman Hadji Muhammad “Murad” Ibrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) did not face the Philippine Flag during the signing in Malacanang of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in February 2013. Moro and Mindanao leaders in the Luneta Ceremonies with President Manuel L. Roxas 69 years ago were: Pendatun, Piang, Amilbangsa, Lanao Senator Tomas Cabili, and Senator Sultan Alawiya Alonto, a delegate to the 1935 Constitution, and a Commonwealth elected senator, who along with Claro M. Recto had elective terms curtailed by the war. The names of these Moro leaders along with those of other elected Filipino politicians are engraved on the bronze plate bolted on the footing base of the huge Luneta Park Flag Pole. READ MORE...

ALSO: Gov Hataman pays tribute to Moro heroes on Independence Day


JUNE 12 ---COTABATO CITY -- Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on 117th Independence Day celebration remembered and paid tribute to the heroes of the Bangsamoro who offered their lives in defense of freedom and self-determination.
"Today is the day when we not only look back at the bravery and greatness of our Filipino heroes, but also look forward to a better future as we collect and claim the gains of their courage and selflessness," Hataman said in his message to the nation in observance of the 117th anniversary of declaration of Philippine Independence. "But we also remember the Moro martyrs who fought for our land. They are those whose stories have been forgotten by time or missed by history books," he added. "We pay tribute to them," Hataman said as he remembered the Moro heroes, namely Sultan Alimudin and Datu Ache of Sulu; Rajah of Buayan, Silongan; To Sultan Mawallil Wasit Bungsu of Jolo; Datu Akadir Amai Pakpak and Datu Ampunagus of Lanao; Kapitan Laut Buisan of Maguindanao and to Sultan Kudarat of Maguindanao. "They are just some of the Moro heroes," Hataman said, adding that "We are forever indebted to them – they, who offered lives in the name of freedom. They are those who died for us and our children. They are our patriots whose legacy of valor and courage became our own source of strength and enthusiasm – that we become a free people, a free nation," the regional governor said. READ MORE...

ALSO: Senate supports economic Chacha


MAY 30  ---Senate President Franklin Drilon (photo)
threw his full support behind the House of Representatives’ (HOR) “economic Charter Change” or Chacha, saying it’s about time that the “antiquated’’ economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution are amended.
“I am personally in favor of the amendments because that can provide more flexibility to the very iron-clad wish of the Constitution. It can provide us with the flexibility, given the fast-changing world that we have,” he stressed. Last week, congressmen passed on second reading Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) no.1 which seeks to lift the restrictive economic provisions of the existing Charter. The business sector is closely monitoring the proposed amendments of the economic provisions of the Constitution which then-Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte openly supported. RBH no.1 was filed by Belmonte, who is a co-vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) along with Drilon. Drilon said he had an agreement with Belmonte wherein the Lower House will pass the measure seeking Chacha before it is taken up by Senate. Asked whether the measure would breeze through the Chamber, the Senate chief said this would be difficult to say “since this is a constitutional amendment (but) we will support it”. READ MORE...

ALSO At the House: Cha-cha dead but Belmonte hints at resurrecting economic bill


JUNE 12 ---BELMONTE  
The hope of the business sector and other stakeholders in the proposed lifting of the stringent economic provisions of theConstitution fizzled out yesterday even as the House of Representatives failed to put the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH 1) No. 1 to a vote on the last day of the second regular session. A devastated Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, the main proponent of the resolution, yesterday admitted that the proposed Charter change (cha-cha) is dead.The House leader said the lack of numbers was the reason he and House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II decided not to put RBH 1 to a vote on the last session day for the second regular session. The bill was not mentioned at all when the order of business was being read by Gonzales. “We did not have the numbers. We decided that we don’t want to take a risk,” he told reporters almost midnight on Wednesday after the session adjourned. READ MORE...

ALSO GMA NEWS COMMENTARY:  The bill against political dynasties


JUNE 12 ---ATTY CHRISTIAN MONSOD  The issue of political dynasties is again being debated in the Congress. Several bills have been filed in the House and the Senate to implement the constitutional provision under Article III on Declaration of Principles and State Policies, Section 26, to wit:  “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”  During the deliberations, mostly on September 24, 1986, I asked that the prohibition be deleted on the ground that it is anti-democratic to disqualify from being voted upon an otherwise competent and honest candidate who happens to belong to a "dynasty,” thereby depriving the country of his or her services. Other commissioners said that “dynasties” are the result and not the cause of an unjust social order and, given the new spirit of solidarity and of social reform borne of EDSA, we should trust the people to make the right choices on who deserve to be voted into public office. Moreover, it should be enough to guarantee “equal access to opportunities for public service.”. My motion was voted down by a vote of 17 to 18. But, because there was a question on the procedure in voting, the session was suspended before my motion for reconsideration was put to a vote. During the informal discussions, a consensus developed that (1) the exclusionary effect on a dynastic person is less than the exclusionary effect on many candidates who are poor or from humble backgrounds who do not have a chance against entrenched political power; (2) the provision would complement and close a loophole on the term limits of elected officials.; and (3)the call for a new social order based on social justice in the Constitution we were writing cannot be fulfilled without affirmative action mandated by the Constitution itself. The 1987 Constitution is a major departure from the 1973 and 1935 Constitutions that focused more on the protection of civil and political rights. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

House adjourns sine die, not vote on Chacha, BBL


MB file photo

MANILA, JUNE 15, 2015 (MANILA BULLETIN) by Benjamin Rosario June 11, 2015 - Although 267 congressmen responded to the roll call on the last day of session in the House of Representatives, the chamber’s leadership did not take advantage of the situation by presenting the Charter change proposal embodied in Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 to a vote.

With Speaker Feliciano Belmonte presiding over the last plenary meeting of the Second Regular Session of the 16th Congress, the House merely took up legislative agenda to wrap up the legislative proceedings.

Last night’s sine die adjournment also dashed hopes by proponents of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to have the measure voted upon.

Prior to the closing proceedings, Reps. Rufus Rodriguez, sponsor of House Bill 5811 or the BBL, and Celso Lobregat (NP, Zamboanga City) locked themselves in a five hour floor debate.

The failure of the House leadership to put RBH No. 1 to third and final reading vote triggered speculations that approval will not get the required three fourths vote of all congressmen and will be lost.

These speculations were confirmed by congressional sources who pointed out that at least 33 of the congressmen present last night have confirmed their rejection of the Charter amendments.

READ MORE...
“The House leadership are not that confident that the required 217 affirmative votes will be completed to pass the Charter measure,” a source said.

“We are glad members of the House did not push through with the Chacha vote. It would only exacerbate the poverty of the Filipino people,” stated Senior Deputy Minority Leader Nery Colmenares, a staunch critic of RBH NO. 1.

Approval of the proposed constitutional amendments to the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution requires three fourths vote or about 217 House members.

Belmonte, principal author of RBH No. 1, has been pushing for the passage of the measure despite lacking support from President Benigno Aquino III.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Amid BBL debate, Sereno says SC will ensure Constitution is followed June 12, 2015 1:25pm


Sereno at 117th Independence Day rites in Caloocan Sereno at 117th Independence Day rites in Caloocan. Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno leads the 117th Independence Day ceremony at the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City on Friday, June 12. Dano Tingcungco

Amid claims that parts of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law are unconstitutional, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Friday assured the public that the Supreme Court would ensure that laws crafted by Congress are in accordance with the 1987 Philippine Charter.

During a celebration in Caloocan City for the country's 117th Independence Day, Sereno told reporters that it has always been a "challenge" for the high tribunal to always "look at the Constitution intently."

"You know our deep concern is that sometimes our Constitution is not being considered very seriously in the discussions that are going on maybe in other branches of government, maybe even by some sectors," Sereno said, without elaborating.

"So our duty is to ensure that everything that comes out is always in accordance with the Constitution. That is the key message for this day I think on the part of the judiciary," she added.

Retired SC Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza has earlier said certain provisions of the draft BBL are unconstitutional, including the part that allows the creation of a parliamentary form of government in the proposed Bangsamoro region.

"The provisions on the Bangsamoro government are unconstitutional". Mendoza added.

READ MORE...
"
Must our Constitution be violated in order to have peace and development in Mindanao. You can have peace and development without violating the Constitution,” Mendoza said in May.

"You can’t have a parliamentary form of government under the present system. That’s contrary to the Constitution,” added Mendoza, who served as an SC magistrate from 1994 to 2003.

Mendoza said that under the BBL, a parliamentary government for the Bangsamoro entity "makes it asymmetrical to the government of the Philippines and symmetrical to government of the federation of Malaysia.”

Several sectors have already proposed the charter to be amended to suit the BBL, something Mendoza said could be one of the two remedies for the flaws plaguing the current version of the BBL draft.

"Either amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution or drop the unconstitutional portions of the proposed measure," he said.

“Implicit in the assignment of the Transition Commission is an acknowledgment… that the essential provisions of the agreements, which were to be embodied in the Basic Law, were incompatible with the provisions of the Constitution,” said Mendoza.

“Hence the need to amend the Constitution to obviate any constitutional objections before the Basic Law is considered,” added the former magistrate.

The House of Representatives and the Senate had earlier chosen to delete from the draft BBL a controversial "opt-in" provision allowing provinces to join the proposed Bangsamoro region after a plebiscite.

The BBL embodies the government’s peace agreement with the MILF. It seeks to create a new Bangsamoro political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The draft BBL is still undergoing plenary debates at the House, and committee deliberations at the Senate. —Mark Merueñas/KBK, GMA News


NOTREDAME BROADCASTING CORPORATION

Moro History on PH Independence Day The Mindanao Cross Opinion • Mon Jun 8, 2015 11:27 AM •  11 By Nash B. Maulana


JULY 4, 1946

THE first Independence Day Flag Raise Ceremony which was attended simultaneously by Moro leaders took place in Luneta Park on July 4, 1946.

It was preceded by the Flag Retreat of the Stars-Spangled Banner, symbolizing the “end of American rule,” and the start of an “Independent Philippine Republic.”

Mindanao leaders, notably newly elected Senator Salipada Pendatun and Cotabato Congressman Datu Gumbay Piang were seen saluting both flags, the two being both senior officers of the United States Armed Forces of the Far-East, coming into the mainstream politics fresh from the last World War.

Not from the perspective of Pendatun and Piang as military men, who served both countries during the war, but from the viewpoint of Sulu Congressman Umbrah Amilbangsa, the Filipino would understand the reason why Chairman Hadji Muhammad “Murad” Ibrahim of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) did not face the Philippine Flag during the signing in Malacanang of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in February 2013.

Moro and Mindanao leaders in the Luneta Ceremonies with President Manuel L. Roxas 69 years ago were: Pendatun, Piang, Amilbangsa, Lanao Senator Tomas Cabili, and Senator Sultan Alawiya Alonto, a delegate to the 1935 Constitution, and a Commonwealth elected senator, who along with Claro M. Recto had elective terms curtailed by the war.

The names of these Moro leaders along with those of other elected Filipino politicians are engraved on the bronze plate bolted on the footing base of the huge Luneta Park Flag Pole.

READ MORE...
Early educated Moros, including their leaders, were used to being part of July 4 ceremonies commemorating the U.S. Independence Day, during the Commonwealth period.

But the following events have turned the celebration of the Independence Day, either on July 4 or on June 12, quite insignificant to Moro history—and almost, to the Moro people themselves.

First, a question on the “legitimacy of the Philippine Republic as a national entity created by the Treaty of Manila,” led Amilbangsa to the file a bill in Congress, seeking legislative concurrence instead to the Kiram-Bates Treaty, providing for mutual recognition of the powers of Sulu Sultanate under Sultan Jamalul Kiram I over his subjects, and of the American administration’s mandate over Moroland.

The Amilbangsa Bill in Congress has since been archived, if not relegated to the dustbin of legislative history; and so must have been the U.S. Congressional probe on Ambassador Paul McNutt, as the author of Treaty of Manila.

Instead, 15 years later, the Fifth Congress enacted Republic Act No. 4166 on August 4, 1964, renaming the July 4 holiday as "Philippine Republic Day," and proclaimed June 12 as the "Philippine Independence Day" based on Emilio Aguinaldo’s Declaration of Independence in Kawit, Cavite.

In his first privilege speech in Congress, Amilbangsa asserted (in 1946) that the Moros should not be part of the Philippine Republic (which was) created by the Treaty of Manila,” (and) entered into (also) on July 4, 1946, between and the U.S. Government and the “First Philippine Republic” (under President Manuel Roxas), “creating the Philippine Republic” and “abolishing the Philippine Commonwealth.”

The creation of the Philippine Republic by a mere treaty (with the U.S.), Amilbangsa argued, was a political anomaly. Prior to this, the Sulu Sultanate, opposed to be part of the Aguinaldo-led Republika ng Pilipinas, even as the Sultan declined Aguinaldo’s invitation for him to join the Malolos Congress.

Amilbangsa asserted that the mutual relations between the United States of America and the Moroland under the Kiram-Bates Treaty of 1899 should instead be held in status quo, and prevail over the establishment of a Philippine Republic and the creation of the Moro Province (later the Department of Mindanao and Sulu), under that unitary republic.

The Taosug legislator’s stand was clear: “If the foundation of the Philippine Republic solely rests upon a mere treaty (Treaty of Manila) authored by a U.S. envoy (Paul McNutt)—(then) the Mindanao sultanates and principalities were firmer and should prevail over the American-created Moro Province or the Department of Mindanao.

Therefore, they should not be left subservient to Philippine authorities or government.” These events also form part of the bases of a “historic injustice” stated in by MILF founding Chairman Salamat Hashim in his letter to the U.S. State Department on January 2003.


NOTREDAME BROADCASTING CORPORATION

Governor Hataman pays tribute to Moro heroes on Independence Day Mindanao Peace Process • Fri Jun 12, 2015 01:10 PM •  7  0 By Edwin O. Fernandez

Theme: “Kalayaan 2015: Tagumpay sa Pagbabagong Nasimulan, Abot Kamay na ng Bayan.”

COTABATO CITY -- Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on 117th Independence Day celebration remembered and paid tribute to the heroes of the Bangsamoro who offered their lives in defense of freedom and self-determination.

"Today is the day when we not only look back at the bravery and greatness of our Filipino heroes, but also look forward to a better future as we collect and claim the gains of their courage and selflessness," Hataman said in his message to the nation in observance of the 117th anniversary of declaration of Philippine Independence.

"But we also remember the Moro martyrs who fought for our land. They are those whose stories have been forgotten by time or missed by history books," he added.

"We pay tribute to them," Hataman said as he remembered the Moro heroes, namely Sultan Alimudin and Datu Ache of Sulu; Rajah of Buayan, Silongan; To Sultan Mawallil Wasit Bungsu of Jolo; Datu Akadir Amai Pakpak and Datu Ampunagus of Lanao; Kapitan Laut Buisan of Maguindanao and to Sultan Kudarat of Maguindanao.

"They are just some of the Moro heroes," Hataman said, adding that "We are forever indebted to them – they, who offered lives in the name of freedom. They are those who died for us and our children. They are our patriots whose legacy of valor and courage became our own source of strength and enthusiasm – that we become a free people, a free nation," the regional governor said.

READ MORE...
He said the celebration of independence is marked with more meaning and significance "because these days, the Bangsamoro is fighting the enormous battle for self-determination – and this is the essence that fueled the valiancy shown by our forebears."

Hataman said in the Bangsamoro, having self-determination "will allow us the freedom to prove that we can rise above the challenge of impacting positive change in our lives and our communities."

He said the Bangsamoro is fighting for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. "And there are still other challenges ahead of us – the fight against poverty, the fight for justice and peace, the fight for equality, the fight for self-determination."

As Moro people, we inherited the greatness of our own heroes and the spirit to persevere and triumph despite the storm. We should take inspiration from these heroes as we take on and win over the challenges of our generation,"


MANILA BULLETIN

Senate supports economic Chacha by Mario Casayuran May 30, 2015 (updated)

Senate President Franklin Drilon (photo) threw his full support behind the House of Representatives’ (HOR) “economic Charter Change” or Chacha, saying it’s about time that the “antiquated’’ economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution are amended.

“I am personally in favor of the amendments because that can provide more flexibility to the very iron-clad wish of the Constitution. It can provide us with the flexibility, given the fast-changing world that we have,” he stressed.

Last week, congressmen passed on second reading Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) no.1 which seeks to lift the restrictive economic provisions of the existing Charter.

The business sector is closely monitoring the proposed amendments of the economic provisions of the Constitution which then-Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte openly supported.

RBH no.1 was filed by Belmonte, who is a co-vice chairman of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) along with Drilon.

Drilon said he had an agreement with Belmonte wherein the Lower House will pass the measure seeking Chacha before it is taken up by Senate.

Asked whether the measure would breeze through the Chamber, the Senate chief said this would be difficult to say “since this is a constitutional amendment (but) we will support it”.

READ MORE...
‘’We will try to, without muzzling our colleagues or depriving them the ability to debate on this very important issue, we will push it,’’ he added.

One key constitutional provision that economic Chacha supporters want changed is the 60-40 equity ratio wherein foreigners cannot have more than a 40 percent share in business ventures.

Another issue being debated is whether to allow foreigners to buy lands or simply offer them long periods of lease agreements, like in Japan.

“We are not saying that foreign ownership should be allowed. What we are saying is that allow us to debate, allow Congress to take look at these policies,” Drilon said.

Sen. Sergio Osmeña III, chairman of the Senate banks committee, and Sen. Joseph Victor ‘’JV’’ Ejercito, chairman of the Senate economic affairs committee have also backed the proposed economic changes to the Constitution.


TRIBUNE

Cha-cha dead but Belmonte hints at resurrecting econ bill Written by Charlie V. Manalo and Gerry Baldo Friday, 12 June 2015 00:00


BELMONTE

The hope of the business sector and other stakeholders in the proposed lifting of the stringent economic provisions of the Constitution fizzled out yesterday even as the House of Representatives failed to put the Resolution of Both Houses (RBH 1) No. 1 to a vote on the last day of the second regular session.

A devastated Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, the main proponent of the resolution, yesterday admitted that the proposed Charter change (cha-cha) is dead.

The House leader said the lack of numbers was the reason he and House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II decided not to put RBH 1 to a vote on the last session day for the second regular session. The bill was not mentioned at all when the order of business was being read by Gonzales.

“We did not have the numbers. We decided that we don’t want to take a risk,” he told reporters almost midnight on Wednesday after the session adjourned.

READ MORE...
Belmonte, however, said he is hoping it will be approved by his colleagues in the House of Representatives on third and final reading.

“Anyway, I just wanted to show that it (changing the Constitution) can be done. But frankly, since we only have 21 senators and some of them are not interested in the measure…passing cha-cha would only be a gesture on our part. But it is a good gesture…a political statement,” the Speaker said.

The proposed cha-cha seeks to allow Congress to lift the 40-percent cap on foreign investments and ownership of public utilities, land and media.

The House needs 217 votes or three-fourths of the 291 members of the chamber in order to approve the measure and transmit the document to the Senate for its approval.

The roll call showed that there were 267 lawmakers present in the plenary floor on Wednesday night.

The Speaker said the leadership was afraid that it did not have the “numbers” needed to get the three-fourths vote.

Belmonte noted that it has become apparent that there are lawmakers who want some revisions on his proposal, in addition to concerns that the voters might get confused if the cha-cha vote will be included in the same ballot for the May 2016 elections.

“There were those who wanted revisions and have the whole thing reexamined, and there’s no time to argue with them. I had to make a decision and we felt we were not sure of the (favorable) numbers. As I have said, this is just symbolic because we don’t have enough time,” the House leader stressed.

“There is also a concern that people might be too focused on whom to vote for (in the ballot) that they might not realize that gravity of what is being voted upon (for cha-cha),” Belmonte said.

Senior Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Neri Colmenares, for his part, called the initial victory last night of cha-cha derailment at the lower chamber as an assertion of Philippine independence against foreign interests.

“Cha-cha’s derailment last night is a good assertion of our country’s independence and very timely for our commemoration of Independence Day tomorrow (June 12). It is no small feat to mobilize thousands to protect our lands, patrimony and sovereignty and I am glad that they are keeping watch,” he stressed.

“As it is though, we are glad members of the House did not push through with the cha-cha vote because it would only exacerbate the poverty of the Filipino people. We need genuine land reform and national industrialization instead of this obsession with foreign investors and foreign led development programs,” Colmenares added.

Another member of the opposition, Rep. Carlos Zarate, said this is just a temporary reprieve though and the fight against cha-cha continues.

“We have to continue to educate the people of the rapacious effects of these proposed amendments on the protectionist economic provisions of the Constitution. In the end, we are just representatives of our people who are the decisive force to finally stop this cha-cha,” he explained.



GMA NEWS COMMENTARY

COMMENTARY The bill against political dynasties By,Atty. CHRISTIAN S. MONSOD June 12, 2015 5:45pm


ATTY CHRISTIAN MONSOD 

The issue of political dynasties is again being debated in the Congress. Several bills have been filed in the House and the Senate to implement the constitutional provision under Article III on Declaration of Principles and State Policies, Section 26, to wit:

“The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.”

During the deliberations, mostly on September 24, 1986, I asked that the prohibition be deleted on the ground that it is anti-democratic to disqualify from being voted upon an otherwise competent and honest candidate who happens to belong to a "dynasty,” thereby depriving the country of his or her services.

Other commissioners said that “dynasties” are the result and not the cause of an unjust social order and, given the new spirit of solidarity and of social reform borne of EDSA, we should trust the people to make the right choices on who deserve to be voted into public office. Moreover, it should be enough to guarantee “equal access to opportunities for public service.”.

My motion was voted down by a vote of 17 to 18. But, because there was a question on the procedure in voting, the session was suspended before my motion for reconsideration was put to a vote.

During the informal discussions, a consensus developed that

(1) the exclusionary effect on a dynastic person is less than the exclusionary effect on many candidates who are poor or from humble backgrounds who do not have a chance against entrenched political power;

(2) the provision would complement and close a loophole on the term limits of elected officials.; and

(3)the call for a new social order based on social justice in the Constitution we were writing cannot be fulfilled without affirmative action mandated by the Constitution itself.

The 1987 Constitution is a major departure from the 1973 and 1935 Constitutions that focused more on the protection of civil and political rights.

READ MORE...
Under the 1987 Constitution, social and economic rights were equal to, and in some cases more important than, civil and political rights (such as the Bill of Rights). Thus, the inclusion of an unprecedented separate and new article on Social Justice (Article XIII) and the appearance of social justice provisions in other Articles of the basic law.

It became clear to me that the benefits of the prohibition to the country far outweighed the cost to the dynasties. I withdrew my motion for reconsideration and voted for the final version that now appears in the Constitution.

It was clear from the deliberations that what was going to be prohibited were both successive and simultaneous occupation of public office, principally in local governments plus the district congressional seat which is a national office but voted upon by a local constituency.

The problem being addressed was monopoly power and warlord control of provinces and cities. The inclusion of national office was left to the Congress as well as the right to define the meaning of “dynasty.”

The question often asked is: why did we leave the legislation as well as the definition of “dynasty” to the Congress?

The answer was that the Commission thought that by including that mandate in the Declaration of Principles and State Policies, surely the Congress would enact an implementing law.

And that the extent and gravity of the problem may change over time, i.e. today it may extend beyond the fourth degree (first cousins), in later years after we have gained political maturity the problem may be limited to nephew/uncle (3 degrees), brother/sister (2 degrees) or only father/son (1 degree) or husband/wife, and it is only the Congress which can calibrate with timely legislation the prohibitions according to the needs of the times.

As it turned out, the “EDSA moment” quickly dissipated and self-interest quickly returned. No implementing legislation has been passed in 28 years. And to aggravate the situation, even well-meaning attempts to pass one are being watered down to meaningless levels, and are ultimately abandoned.

To top it all, the same arguments are still being advanced that have been disproven by the clear evidence of history that the term limits are being brazenly circumvented and the dynasty problem has entrenched more deeply the feudalism in our society.

This is manifested in a vicious cycle of power, corruption, money politics, in some places private armies, social legislation with loopholes (i.e. the Hacienda Luisita case that distributed shares of stock instead of land), implementation of programs that defer to the rich and the powerful, and decisions by the Supreme Court that ignore the broader concept of social justice under the 1987 Constitution.

There is something very wrong going on in our country today. And the road back to the promise of EDSA and the vision of the Constitution to fulfill it is going to be very difficult indeed.

If a meaningful anti-dynasty law is not passed, it will just be another nail in the coffin of a Constitution which is supposed to be our most powerful weapon against injustice and for the human development of our people, but which is largely unimplemented.

Not only that, there are even attempts to amend its economic and education provisions to serve foreign interests and in the process open the door to new opportunities for transactional legislation.

Atty. Christian S. Monsod is a member of the 1987 Constitutional Commission and former chair of the Commission on Elections.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2014 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE