Various groups and individuals gathered today at the Malcolm Hall of the University of the Philippines College of Law today to formally launch the ‘No To Cha-Cha Coalition.’ The group opposed Charter Change being pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The newly-launched coalition said that the current efforts to amend or revise the Philippine Constitution were “self-serving, undemocratic and unpatriotic.”

Former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr., 1986 Constitutional Commission member Christian Monsod, Movement Against Tyranny convenor, Mother Mary John Mananzan and former representatives Lorenzo Tañada III, and former Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares led the launch of the Coalition in time for an anti-Cha-Cha assembly this morning.

“The Coalition hopes to raise public awareness and widen the scope of opposition to Duterte’s Cha-Cha,” read the group’s concept paper.

It added, “Among the activities we will undertake are public fora and discussions, multimedia and social media campaigns, lobbying, mass mobilizations and legal actions.”

No To Cha-Cha coalition launched today. Photo by Kathy Yamzon.
No To Cha-Cha coalition launched today. Photo by Kathy Yamzon.

Dangerous Cha-Cha

During the launch, the group aired fear over the “most self-serving and dangerous amendments that will give Duterte a Marcos-like powers and the option to run again in 2022 and the extension of terms of incumbent officials including last-termers until 2022 and increasing their terms of office thereafter to five years.”

They also pointed out that the change in the Constitution being pushed by Duterte’s allies in Congress and his PDP-Laban party “will institutionalize the pork barrel system, establish regional states to the benefit of political dynasties.”

“Duterte’s Cha-Cha also deletes and dilutes nationalist and progressive provisions on the economy, patrimony, sovereignty, social justice and human rights,” said the group.

Members clarified that while they see the present Constitution as not perfect or unchangeable, they recognize that it remains to be the result our people’s historic struggle against dictatorship and for freedom, democracy, social justice and human rights.

They also rang the alarm over various efforts pushing Cha-Cha as these moves “will establish a dictatorship, with immense powers given to the President during the transition period.”

The group said that the proposed amendments of the Constitution “are inimical to our cherished freedoms and aspirations.”

Unities

The Coalition called on other individuals, groups and institutions of freedom-loving Filipinos to join their crusade against Duterte’s Cha-Cha on any of the following points of unities:

  1. Cha-Cha is patently self-serving for incumbent officials and politicians.
  2. Cha-Cha leads to a dictatorship.
  3. Cha-Cha deletes or waters down protectionist provisions on the national economy and patrimony.
  4. Cha-Cha deletes or waters down provisions on social justice, human rights and the people’s sovereign will.
  5. Cha-Cha deletes or waters down the checks-and-balances among branches of government.
  6. Cha-Cha deletes or waters down anti-foreign bases and nuclear-free provisions.
  7. The mode of Constituent Assembly is unacceptable.

The ‘No To Cha-Cha Coalition’ also announced today that their maiden activity will be a big anti-Cha-Cha rally on February 24 coinciding with the 32nd anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolt.

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