Philippine Charter Change - Cha Cha

Philippines Constitution
Philippines Constitution

The Summary

Cha - Cha or Charter Change is the process involved in amending the 1987 Philippine Contitution.

Charter Change, also recognized as "Cha-Cha" in the Philippines, refers to the political and additional associated processes concerned in amending or revising the existing 1987 Constitution of the Philippines. Under the existing constitution there are three modes of which it could be amended: people's initiative (PI), constituent assembly and constitutional convention. All three would direct to a referendum wherein the planned amendment/s or revision/s has to be permitted by the majority of Filipinos in order to be adopted.

People’s Initiative

People’s Initiative or "PI" is one of the three modes in which the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines can be amended. The additional two modes are by means of Constituent Assembly or "Con-Ass" and Constitutional Convention or "Con-Con"; which also consent to revisions.

Under Article XVII, Sec.2 of the Constitution,

the amendments to the Constitution may also be proposed by the people's initiative through a petition of a minimum of 12 percent of the total registered voters

Constituent assembly

Constituent assembly or "Con-Ass" is one of the three modes in which the 1987 Philippine Constitution can be amended

the Senate and the House of Representative are the ones who are tasked to the proposals or amendments to the Philippine Constitution and under Article XVII of the Constitution of the Philippines, for the "Con-Ass" to be successful it should garner a vote of three-fourth of all its members.

Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Convention or more popularly known as "Con-Con" is one of the three modes of Amending the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

Under Article XVII, Sec.3 of the Constitution of the Philippines: the Congress can pass a Con-Con by garnering a vote of two-thirds of its members.

Arroyo cha cha attempt
Arroyo cha cha attempt

Charter Change attempt of Arroyo

A more unyielding effort to change the Philippine Constitution where continued under the government of President Arroyo. During the 2004 Philippine election, GMA incorporated Cha-Cha in her election campaign platform and made it a high priority. By virtue of Executive Order No. 453, Former President Arroyo formed the Consultative Commission spearheaded by Dr. Jose V. Abueva. The main task of the Consultative Commission was to propose the “necessary” revisions on the 1987 Philippine Constitution after consulting with various sectors of the general public. While the “opening up” of the Philippine Economy is generally supported by Macro Businesses in the nation, it is opposed by the powerful Makati Business Club also known as (MBC).

Joseph Estrada
Joseph Estrada

Charter Change Attemp of Estrada

Former Philippine President Joseph “Erap” Estrada also launched an attempt to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Constitutional Correction for Development or ConCorD was the named given for this movement. According to the promoters, ConCorD would only make amendments to the “restrictive” economic provisions of the constitution. And yet again, protest from opposing forces, spiritual sects based on arguments that such amendments would only be beneficial to the current government.

Fidel V. Ramos
Fidel V. Ramos

Charter Change Attempt of Ramos

The foremost Charter Change effort on the 1987 Constitution was under President Fidel V. Ramos. Among the projected changes in the constitution incorporated a shift to a parliamentary system and the lifting of period limits of public officials. Ramos argued that the changes will carry more responsibility, continuity and accountability to the "gridlock" prone Philippine version of presidential bicameral system. Some politically dynamic religious groups, resistance politicians, business tycoons and left wing organizations opposed the Charter change procedure that was supposed to guide to a national referendum. Critics argued that the proposed constitutional changes for one would do good to the incumbent which during that time was Ramos. On September 21, 1997, a church organized public meeting brought in an estimated half a million people to Rizal Park

Furthermore, on September 23, 1997 the Charter Change supporters suffered a setback when the Supreme Court, underneath Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, narrowly dismissed a formal request filed by the People's Initiative for Reform, Modernization and Action (PIRMA) that wanted to amend the Constitution through a signature movement or "People's Initiative". The Supreme Court dismissed the petition on the grounds that the People’s Initiative mode does not have adequate enabling law for the planned revisions or amendments in the 1987 constitution. Had the formal request been successful, a nationwide plebiscite would have been held for planned changes.

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