Gabriela Women's Party (GWP) raised a howl on Speaker Gloria Arroyo's "self-serving" draft Charter under Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 15, which breezed the committee stage and was sneaked into the plenary on Monday.
"Speaker Arroyo's bid to lift term limits as contained in her draft Charter serves her ambition to perpetuate herself in power and be chosen as President in a no-elections scenario. This is a vulgar and self-serving ploy to continue her unfinished Chacha bid almost a decade ago,” said Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus.
“Sobrang pag-abuso ang panukalang Cha-cha na ito sa kanyang poder sa Kamara. I cannot remember any exhaustive deliberation at the committee level of RBH No. 15. Now it’s suddenly at the plenary on second reading, even as women and the people need the Lower House’s action on more pressing measures such as the junking of TRAIN Law" she added.
The Gabriela lawmaker noted that Arroyo’s Charter change proposal is much worse than the Constitutional Commission (ConCom) version for lifting the term limits of lawmakers and local officials, and bypasses the vice president in the line of succession to the President.
RBH No. 15 also dismantles the democratic provisions in the Constitution, and removes the duty of the State to uphold and protect human rights by deleting Section 11 in the declaration of principles.
According to Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, the introduction of a new section on “Bill of Duties” heavily burdens the citizens in upholding human rights without any liability of the state.
“Under Arroyo’s draft charter, the police and the military cannot be held accountable at the institutional level even if they embark on a killing spree. This draft charter will guarantee impunity and protection for gross rights violations of state forces in a post-Duterte setting, and will leave acts of state terrorism unpunished,” said Brosas.
The women’s partylist lawmaker also added that like Arroyo’s Chacha bid in 2009, her RBH No. 15 allows 100 percent foreign ownership of mass media, public utilities and other vital economic sectors, essentially surrendering the country’s patrimony to foreign capital.
Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) said even if Congress has little room to approve the measure with only a few months left before session adjourns, vigilance is still needed.
“The nation was caught by surprise when Gloria Arroyo ascended to the podium and becaome Speaker of the House. We should not let her shock us again with the completion of her political ambition to further ascend in power,” Brosas ended. #