Monday, April 13, 2009

No To Cha-Cha (Sourced FromThe Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Inquirer Headlines / Nation

Analysis : Pushing Cha-cha may be playing with fire

By Amando Doronila
Editorial Consultant
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: April 13, 2009

After a long hibernation during the Lenten break, Congress resumes session on Monday, confronted by a renewed push to change the 1987 Constitution of a nation that does not appear ready for it.

The nation’s mood is like that of a sleeping tiger that can be provoked by fresh actions tormenting it.

Before the holidays, the public had been harassed by efforts initiated by administration allies in the House of Representatives to fast-track attempts to change the Constitution through the method of convening a constituent assembly [Con-ass] composed of the Senate and the House.

At the start of the recess, the two chambers were stalemated on the Con-ass procedure in which the House and the Senate would vote jointly, a procedure rejected by most senators, who preferred the Senate voting separately.

In its most recent public opinion survey on the Cha-cha [Charter change] issue, conducted from Feb. 2 to 15 and released on March 25, Pulse Asia provided a measure of the public mood on a set of 11 issues related to it.

The first relates to the extent of public knowledge about the Constitution. The presumption here is that if public knowledge or awareness of the Charter is inadequate, it would be unwise to rush the changes within the next 13 months before the presidential election in May 2010.

The survey found that nearly six in 10 Filipinos (57 percent) reported having little knowledge about their Constitution.

The second question asked was whether respondents were in favor of changing the Constitution now. The survey found that a big plurality (42 percent) was against it. On the other hand, 33 percent supported the move, while 25 percent were undecided.

Economy is top reason

It is important to note that between November 2006 and February 2009, the overall percentage of those against Charter change remained constant. But there was a slight drop in the level of support for constitutional amendments (-6 percentage points), which was matched by an increase in the level of public indecision on the issue (+6 percentage points).

On Question 3, whether it was appropriate to amend the Constitution at this time, the survey found that two out of three Filipinos (64 percent) said it was not—a view shared by the majorities (60-70 percent) in all geographical areas and socioeconomic groupings.

On the other hand, 25 percent of Filipinos said they were not opposed, while 11 percent were undecided.

Significantly and relevant to developments in the current global economic recession, the survey found that economic improvement was the top reason cited by those favoring Charter change. Those opposed think the Constitution is good enough and would like to avoid any chaos that may arise from changing it.

Tags: Philippines, Charter Change, Cha-Cha, Congress, Constitution, Senate, Pulse Asia, Filipinos, Economy

Sourced From Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted by: Mel Alarilla


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