GMA dared to debate with Cha-cha opponents

March 27, 2006 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

Minority lawmaker and AKBAYAN Rep. Risa Hontiveros dared Malacanang today to openly debate with anti-cha cha advocates and put an end to the underhanded tactics it is employing to amend the constitution. AKBAYAN Rep. Hontiveros said that instead of misleading the public about the so-called people’s initiative and the merits of the Malacanang-backed proposed amendments to the 1987 constitution, the government should allow its position be subjected to open and free debates on cha-cha.

The solon suggested the conduct of several rounds of debate on the issue. During her State of the Nation Address last year, she urged Congress to ‘let the great charter change debate begin.’

“Amending the constitution should be a collective endeavor. Since President GMA herself said she’s willing to allow her popularity deteriorate further, then let us debate and give the public the chance to participate and have an informed decision on the issue. After all, if they have nothing to hide about the conduct of these surprising and sneaky barangay assemblies, then the administration should be willing to bare all,” AKBAYAN Rep. Hontiveros said.

She also dared Malacanang to stop bribing the people to join the “people’s initiative” and to play fair and square. “Stop offering rice, money, or other incentives to encourage people to sign the petition. The government should even prosecute local officials who have been found guilty of bribery,” Rep. Hontiveros said.

For the proposed debate series, the solon suggested the following terms:

  • For each round, three representatives will come from the pro-administration charter change proponents, while three representatives will come from opposing side. The former shall be chosen by the government, and President GMA must be part of one of the debates. The later shall be chosen from anti-Cha cha advocates in the Senate, House of Representatives, the legal profession or the academe, and civil society.
  • The debates will focus on three topics: the process of amending the constitution, the proposed political amendments, and the proposed economic reforms.
  • The debates will be aired live by TV networks. Students and government workers are to be encouraged to watch the debate.

She also urged state universities like UP to host the debate and come up with the rules for the debate. “Although taxpayers’ money should go to worthwhile political exercises like open and free public debates on cha-cha, we in AKBAYAN are wary that the government might again use its own resources to advance its partisan interests. Therefore, getting a third party to host the debate would be safer,” AKBAYAN Rep. Hontiveros said. ###

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Entry filed under: Charter Change, Press Kit, Press Releases.

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