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Petition against Con-As starts at Nograles’ turf
In The Press Posted on July 19th, 2009.
DAVAO CITY (davaotoday.com)— Progressive lawmakers launched a signature campaign against the Constituent Assembly right at the homefront of Speaker Prospero Nograles, the close Arroyo ally pushing for Charter change.
Partylist Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna, Lisa Maza and Luz Ilagan of Gabriela—who all declared to run under the progressive political party Makabayan—said they launched the Atras Con-As (Back-off, Con-As) campaign in Davao City to challenge Nograles right in his bailiwick. It was Nograles who pushed for the passage of House Resolution 1109 which calls to convene members of both the Lower House and the Senate into a Constitutional Assembly to change the Philippine Constitution.
“Through the petition, the people will urge their district congressmen to withdraw their support from the Con-As,” said Ocampo.
Partylist Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna and Liza Maza of Gabriela during the launching of Atras (Back Off) Con As campaign.
Ocampo said they will send the signatures they will gather to the offices of congressmen. He said the more signatures they can gather before the President’s state of the nation address (Sona), the better.
“This is something new because normally, congressmen receive solicitation letters from their constituents,” Casino said. “This time, instead of solicitation letters, they’ll get a petition against the Con-As.”
He said that the only thing that can stop the Congress move is people power.
Maza said that aside from withdrawing their support, the constituents should also tell their congressmen not to show up when called to convene.
“How can the Con-As work if nobody attends?” Maza said.
Ocampo said there is a good chance that the Congressmen’s move to change the Constitution through a Constituent Assembly will not push through because those who voted for it could not make up a solid coalition. He said his group expects more congressmen to withdraw their support from the Con-As because of their campaign.
He said some congressmen wanted to change the Constitution but not before the 2010 elections. Others did not want Charter change through a constitutional assembly.
Stopping the Congressmen’s move to convene the Con-As will ensure that there will be an election next year, he said.
Ocampo said the people should assert their right before 2010. He said that a change in the form of government from presidential to parliamentary “will lessen” people’s participation because the parliamentary form requires only members of the House to vote for the Prime Minister.
The lawmakers also dismissed Nograles’ remarks that they are only making a political noise.
“Con-As is a very serious matter to trivialize,” Ocampo said. “The basic law of the land is at stake here. We should take things seriously,” said Maza.
Hours before it was launched, Atras Con-As members made rounds at the Bankerohan public market where people started signing the petition. The lawmakers also announced they will gather a big crowd during the President’s sona on July 27 to protest against Charter change. (Grace S. Uddin/davaotoday.com)