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Arroyo hands off on Charter change mode

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Congress will decide on the matter, he says

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 14:57:00 12/15/2008

MANILA, Philippines — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has “no choice” on the mode by which the 1987 Constitution would be amended and would leave the decision to Congress, her spokesman said Monday.

“Wala hong choice ang Presidente, dahil hindi na siya nakikialam, dahil yung constitutional amendments na yan, nasa Kongreso na yan, sila na yung magdedesisyon [The President has no choice because she does not interfere in constitutional amendments. The matter is with Congress, and the lawmakers will decide],” Press Secretary Jesus Dureza told state-run radio station Radyo ng Bayan.

“Eventually, the people will make the ultimate decision because this will be submitted to a plebiscite. Whatever the decision of Congress is, the people, ultimately, [have the] sovereign power,” said Dureza, amid mounting calls for the President to declare her stand on the debate between a constitutional convention or constituent assembly to amend the 1987 Charter.

Last Friday, thousands marched to the Makati City financial district to denounce moves by Arroyo’s allies in the House of Representatives to convene themselves into a constituent assembly to rewrite the Charter.

While the pro-Arroyo majority said they would revise only the economic provisions, the President’s critics raised fears that Charter change would pave the way for her stay in power beyond 2010 when her term would officially end as provided under the Constitution.

Arroyo has kept mum on whether she would be pushing for a constituent assembly or a constitutional convention, where delegates who would revise the Charter would be elected. She also has not said whether she wanted the amendments to the Constitution before or after 2010.

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Written by joelguinto

MonUTC2008-12-15T07:23:05+00:00UTC12bUTCMon, 15 Dec 2008 07:23:05 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am12

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