Cong. Alvarez supports Sen. Robin Padilla on cha-cha and federalism



Numerous information had spread about the obstacles that Senator Robin Padilla, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes, confronts regarding his push for charter change.

One of the oppositors to Senator Padilla’s moves is no less than Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri who said that amendments to the 1987 Constitution is not urgent.

“It’s not the priority of the president, it’s also not our priority,” he said.

Another speed bump for Senator Padilla might be his own political party, PDP-Laban. The Senator expressed that if PDP-Laban will not support changing the constitution, he will resign.

“Kaya ako sumama sa PDP-Laban, dahil sa charter change at pederalismo. Kung mangyayari bukas na ang buong Partido ay susuportahan nila ang con-ass o con-con, maraming salamat. Iyan ay ipagdiriwang ko. Pero kung sasabihin bukas na huwag natin supportahan ang Charter change, sa araw na iyon, resigned na ako,” the Senator told reporters.

Despite the struggles, Senator Padilla found an ally in his crusade, but not in the Senate.

He and former Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez were together last March 9, 2023 in Baguio City for a consultative session with stakeholders about the benefits of revisions of the 1987 Constitution.

During the consultations, while supportive of amending the restrictive economic provisions, Cong. Bebot Alvarez called for a revival of the overhaul and revision of the 1987 Constitution. He echoed once more the need to shift from a unitary to a federal form of government as key to unlocking the general welfare of the people.

“Sana kung meron mang magtulak ng pagbabago ng saligang batas, sana wala nang iba kundi ang kapakanan ng taong bayan,” Cong. Bebot Alvarez said.

On his part, Senator Padilla, expressed that the 1987 Constitution preserved the oligarchy to the detriment of the Filipino people.

He added, “ang yabang ng mga Pilipino magsabi na tayo ay demokrasya, pero naghihirap ang taong bayan. 80% ng ating kababayan umaasa sa 20% ng mga pamilya na nagkokontrol ng negosyo sa bansa. At ito ang mga pamilya na gumawa at prinoproteksyunan ng 1987 Constitution, yung 20% na pamilyang nagkokontrol ng buhay ninyo!”

Under a federal system, instead of powers and resources concentrated in the National Capital Region, dubbed as “Imperial Manila,” these will be shared to the regions. Thus, progress and development will reach the peripheries. If coupled with economic reforms, such as opening protected industries to foreign competition, charter change is projected to diminish the hold of oligarchs over the economic life of the nation.

During the press conference, journalists asked Senator Padilla about the resistance he faces inside – and beyond – the Senate.

After his response, Cong. Bebot Alvarez interjected and reaffirmed his support.

“Mr. Chairman, kung kailangan, sasamahan kita hanggang impyerno,” he said.

As for Senator Zubiri’s stance that charter change is not a priority, Cong. Bebot Alvarez replied:

“Why can’t we look at it from the perspective of a priority to improve the lives of the people by changing a rusted basic law that chained the nation for a long time?”

Cong. Bebot Alvarez was PDP-Laban Secretary General before resigning in November 2020. He is currently concurrent Chairman and President of Partido Reporma. He and Senator Padilla pushed for constitutional reforms during the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Despite the odds, they continue to push for said systemic reforms under the Marcos government.

Catherine R. Cueto

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