Members of militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) – Metro Manila blow whistles and launched a signature drive to slam President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘railroaded’ passage of a resolution in the Lower House that aims to convene Congress into a constitutional assembly (con-Ass) to pave way for Charter change (Cha-cha).

The group decried the passage of House Concurrent Resoluton (HCR) No. 9 on the second reading last January 16 to shift the structure of government to federalism.

Bayan Metro Manila said that while the House leadership and President Duterte brag about federalism, “the government can’t hide its real agenda of pushing their self-serving political and economic interests in the guise of Cha-cha”.

They also added that Duterte and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez are clearly becoming hell-bent in pushing con-ass and Cha-cha, even without the presence of the Senate, in order to speed-up the enactment of extending their terms in office and legitimize the 100% ownership of foreign corporations on vital and strategic businesses, land and other sectors in the country.

“Today, we blow our whistles to register our loudest opposition against Duterte’s anti-people and anti-national Con-Ass and Cha-Cha. Worse than being anti-poor and pro-foreign businesses, the HCR No. 9 serves as a rubberstamp of the Lower House to Duterte which granted his administration to exercise dictatorial power,” Bayan Metro Manila chair Mong Palatino said.

The group also denounced the proposed charter change of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP- Laban) that provides incumbent House members to extend their terms which may lead to a no-election scenario; grant House officials income tax exemptions; and consolidates executive, legislative and judicial power to the President.

Palatino stresses, “Duterte wants to maintain the one-man rule over our decade constitution with his supermajority cronies in Congress through a sham, anti–people constituent assembly.”

Bayan Metro Manila also launched a signature drive to gather the anti-Cha-Cha sentiments of common people.

The group said that they will bring their petition down to the grassroots – communities, churches, schools, workplaces and other areas with concentration of the masses – to prove that only Duterte and his minions in Congress were those supporting con-ass and Cha-cha.

Bayan Metro Manila also set up a similar petition online via change.org to reach netizens and overseas Filipinos opposing this move of the Duterte government to implement a dictator and tyrannical regime through Con-Ass and Cha-Cha.

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